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Can I Pour Hot Water Down My Drain to Unfreeze Pipes?

Pipe with ice surrounding it

We depend on a steady, constant supply of water daily for essential activities at home like washing, cooking, cleaning, and showering. When your home’s plumbing is working well, it’s easy to forget how vulnerable it can be to interruption when freezing temperatures arrive. When that happens, it makes sense to think that boiling water is the best way to counteract the problem. But is it the best way?

Pipes freeze when they’re not insulated enough to protect them from freezing temperatures. If the pipe’s temperature drops below freezing, the water inside will freeze, expand, and potentially rupture the pipe. This can lead to leaks, flooding, water damage, and expensive repairs.

Signs You Have Frozen Pipes

When your pipes freeze, it’s not always evident just by looking at them. Here are a few signs to watch for to indicate your pipes have frozen:

  • No water flows from the taps
  • Significant changes in water pressure
  • The home boiler won’t activate
  • Sinks don’t drain
  • Slow-flushing toilets
  • Sudden gurgling in your heating system

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

Pouring boiling water down a drain to unfreeze pipes works sometimes but is not recommended. If you choose to do so, it’s important to do it safely to avoid physical injury or damage to your plumbing. In many cases, the added water will also freeze, worsening the problem. This is especially common when the water is poured on the pipe rather than down the pipe. It’s often effective to use water that is not quite boiling.

Other methods involve applying heat to the pipe itself. Avoid blowtorches, propane heaters, or other open-flame methods. Instead, consider hair dryers, hot water bottles, or hot towels. Be sure to open your taps to allow steam or melted water to escape.

Preventing Frozen Pipes in the Future

There are several steps to keep pipes from freezing in the future. These include:

  • Use foam insulation to protect the pipes through the process known as lagging.
  • Insulate your home, including sealing wall cracks and drafts, to protect interior pipes.
  • Keep interior home temperatures warm, even when you’re away.
  • Allow taps to drip cold water during the coldest periods.

Schedule Plumbing Repairs With O’Bryan Plumbing Services

Since 1982, O’Bryan Plumbing Services has provided the Allen and Plano, TX, areas with superior plumbing workmanship and fantastic customer service. Our highly trained technicians have the knowledge and experience to handle whatever plumbing challenge you might have. With backed satisfaction guarantees and competitive warranties, you can expect dependable, professional results you can rely on.

Our family-owned company handles everything from simple leaks to pipe repair to leak detection. We offer outstanding work at competitive prices with no hassle.

To book professional plumbing services with O’Bryan Plumbing Services in Allen and Plano, TX, call (972) 727-6364.