During an extreme, extended cold spell, pipes can freeze despite precautions. Follow these tips to thaw frozen pipes.
Keep the Plumber's Telephone Number Handy
Write down your plumber's number now before you need it in an emergency. Make sure to keep it in an easy-to-find location.
Take Care when Thawing Pipes
If you think you know where the freeze-up occurred and want to try thawing it yourself, do not, under any circumstances, use a torch with an open flame. The whole house could catch fire. Also, overheating a single spot can burst the pipe, and heating a soldered joint could allow it to leak or come completely apart.
Use a Hair Dryer
The easiest tool for thawing pipes is probably a hair dryer with a low-heat setting. Wave the warm air back and forth along the pipe; do not focus on one spot. If you don't have a hair dryer, you can wrap the frozen section with rags or towels and pour hot water over them. It's messy, but it works.
When Thawing, Prepare for Leaks
Even if it isn't leaking, the pipe may already be broken. The frozen water prevents the pipe from leaking. However, water can come gushing out when you thaw the pipe. Be ready to run for the master shutoff valve if necessary.