In this video, This Old House plumbing and heating contractor Richard Trethewey explains how to prevent frozen pipes.

Steps for Preventing Pipes from Freezing

  1. Seal air-leaking holes and cracks around the home with expanding foam sealant or silicone caulk.
  2. Use foam-rubber pipe insulation to protect exposed pipes from cold.
  3. Slip foam-rubber insulation over the pipe, peel away backing strips, then press the adhesive surfaces together.
  4. At pipe corners, miter-cut the ends of the foam-rubber insulation with scissors, then secure the corner joint with foam tape.
  5. Before attempting to thaw a frozen pipe, open the faucet.
  6. Locate ice blockage, then use a heat gun or blow dryer to thaw frozen pipe; don’t use a propane torch or another open flame.

If the frozen section of pipe is inaccessible, use an electric pipe-thawing machine.

Find the exposed ends of the pipe, then place one clamp from the machine onto each pipe; the machine will warm the pipe and eventually melt the blockage.


Looking for more help with repairs around your home? A home warranty may help. Check out these in-depth guides from the This Old House Reviews Team:


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