23 February An orange heat gun on the ground

Should You Use a Heat Gun For Thawing Frozen Pipes?

Posted by PlumbWize

Winter is a wonderful season, but it doesn’t come without its downsides. As we all know, extremely low temperatures can freeze nearly everything in its path, including pipes.

Frozen pipes spell trouble for your household if not mitigated immediately. In order to save your home from the dangers and hassles of frozen pipes, you need to think fast and find a remedy while professional plumbers are on the way.

One of the first quick fixes that comes to mind might be a heat gun, but how effective is a heat gun for thawing frozen pipes? And is it even a safe method?

Spoiler alert: it’s not. Let’s find out more!

Why Do Pipes Freeze?

Before anything else, let’s take it back to the root causes of frozen pipes.

Frozen pipes are some of the biggest winter-induced inconveniences. They are typically caused by a sharp drop in temperatures. That’s when the water inside them freezes, causing them to expand and pressurize. Aside from impeding the seamless flow of water, frozen pipes run the risk of bursting, eventually triggering floods in your home.

To prevent critical damage, it’s essential for homeowners to have a contingency plan for handling frozen pipes.

Water sprying out of a burst pipe

Can I Use a Heat Gun for Thawing Frozen Pipes?

Now, let’s get down to business; it is not advisable to use a heat gun for thawing frozen pipes. This is because heat guns can hit temperatures of up to 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than enough to accidentally start a fire. Given that a heat gun’s temperature exceeds the melting point of PVC piping, you would be much better off using safer methods, which we will discuss next!

DIY: How To Thaw Frozen Pipes

Step 1: Turn the faucet on and let it run. Even if it runs at a mere drip, it’s important to keep the faucet open. The simple science behind this is that when freezing temperatures occur, pressure builds up between the faucet and the ice blockage. Opening the faucet relieves pressure, ultimately preventing a burst.

Step 2: Apply heat to the affected area with a hair dryer or a space heater. As an alternative, it is also advisable to wrap the frozen pipes in thermostatically-controlled heat tape.

Important note: If you opt for the hair dryer option, start by aiming it close to the faucet end of the pipe. Afterwards, gradually move towards the most frozen part of the pipe. Keep in mind that the faucet needs to be on while you apply heat.

Also, keep an eye out for the temperature of the hair dryer, as prolonged use could
cause overheating and blowing a fuse.

Step 3: Apply heat until the regular water pressure is restored. Once the water is running smoothly, keep the faucet open for a couple of minutes to ensure that all the ice is cleared from the system.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes 

1. Disconnect the Hose

The simple task of disconnecting your hose after you tend to your garden can save your pipes from freezing with the times.

2. Insulate the Pipes

Pipes located in unheated areas (e.g. basement, attic, crawl spaces, garages) should be kept snug with insulation material. Heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables should do the trick!

3. Seal Air Leaks

Inspect for holes around the piping in both interior and exterior walls. Then, seal them to create a barrier against the cold air.

Bonus tip: Keep the garage door closed after use. Leaving it open is like willingly creating a huge air leak.

4. Keep the Temperature Consistent

The thermostat is a common cause of disagreement in the household (that and the remote control of the TV!) However, when the temperature drops, let’s agree to keep the thermostat at a consistent rate to prevent frozen pipes.

The words “Frozen pipes? Time to call Plumbwize” against a background of frozen pipes

When to Call a Plumber to Battle Frozen Pipes

Not all frozen pipes are easy to tackle by yourself, as it tends to be a tricky and time-consuming task. Instead of using a heat gun when thawing frozen pipes, the best solution would be to call in the cavalry.

To prevent further damage and to ensure that frozen pipes thaw the right way, all signs point towards PlumbWize. Our company has been a leading plumbing service provider for over six decades—and counting.

With the expertise of our team of highly-qualified plumbers, frost doesn’t stand a chance. Give us a call to remedy frozen pipes today!


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