Omnia Mechanical Group

571 Timpson Place Bronx, NY 10455

Phone: 212-534-2500

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Will Frozen Pipes Thaw on Their Own? How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

If you are a property owner or manager in New York City, the risk of frozen pipes skyrockets on cold winter days, especially when the thermometer dips below 28 degrees Fahrenheit. You may have wondered: will frozen pipes thaw on their own? Here’s the answer to that question, along with some tips on how to thaw frozen pipes and prevent this problem in the first place.

Frozen Pipes Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Thaw on Their Own

Risk of bursting

Frozen pipes will eventually thaw on their own, but it could take days or even weeks. If New York City is experiencing a brutal cold snap, the temperature could stay below freezing for many days.

Meanwhile, the water in the pipes could be expanding. The laws of physics say water always takes up more volume as it freezes. When your pipes can no longer contain the expanding ice, they will burst. This not only breaks the pipes and makes your plumbing system unusable, it may cause serious water damage as well.

Therefore, in most cases, pipes shouldn’t be allowed to thaw on their own. Follow the steps below to thaw them.

Here’s How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

Locate the frozen pipe

First, locate the pipe that is frozen. There are a few ways to do this. Most obviously, there will be no water coming from the tap or appliance it serves. If the pipe has been frozen for a while, you may even see ice protruding from the spigot where dripping water has frozen. We see this sometimes in unused and unheated properties and outdoor faucets.

A frozen pipe is usually in the coldest part of the property, such as along an exterior wall that doesn’t get much sun. It may also be under a cabinet or running through a crawlspace that is exposed to the outside. You may feel a pipe is extremely cold or notice frost or water beading on it.

Pro tip: if one pipe is frozen, there’s a good chance others are frozen as well. Double check all your taps and appliances (dish washer, clothes washer, etc.) to make sure water is running there.

Open the faucet

Next, open the faucet leading from the frozen pipe. Make sure to open both the hot and cold taps if applicable. This relieves pressure in the system. As the pipe thaws, it will allow melted water to exit, which will also help speed up the thawing process.

Apply heat carefully

Turn up the heat in the room where you are working. This will warm the pipe.

Start closest to the faucet or where the water flows into the interior of the property. When the ice melts, you want it to have someplace to go.

Apply heat carefully to the frozen area of the pipe. Depending on the tools you have available and the anatomy of your plumbing, you can try different approaches:

  • A hairdryer is often very effective. Just be sure to avoid having it come into contact with water, and never leave the hairdryer running unattended.
  • Place a portable heater nearby, such as a heat lamp or space heater. Again, watch out for shock risk with water in the area.
  • If you can purchase electrical heating tape, this can be wrapped around the pipe to slowly melt the ice inside.
  • Hot towels work in a pinch if you have none of the options listed above. You will have to keep reheating the towels as they cool, which is labor intensive.

Never use a blowtorch or any kind of open flame to thaw your pipes.

Call Sanitary Plumbing for hard-to-reach pipes

Pipes that are inside walls or located in other challenging locations may require the assistance of a plumber. They will likely have to remove a section of wall or apply infrared heating to deal with the problem.

The Best Defense Is a Good Offense

Proactive approaches

Ideally, you want to prevent your pipes from freezing in the first place. This will save you a lot of headaches in the future. Follow these tips:

  • Keep the thermostat set at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or above any time the temperature outside falls below 28 degrees. Be sure to inform tenants of this as well, as they may mistakenly turn down the heat to save money when they’re not home.
  • Open the cabinet doors under the sinks when deep freeze weather hits and keep them open for the length of the cold weather.
  • When the temperature plummets, leave faucets running just a tiny bit to discourage pipes from freezing.
  • Close garage doors and other places where cold air can rush inside and cause pipes to freeze.
  • Insulate your pipes whenever possible. If they’re readily accessible, this is a DIY job; otherwise, call your plumber for assistance.
  • Disconnect exterior hoses and cover outdoor spigots in the fall before the first freeze.
  • Drain pipes that won’t be used during winter, such as those in empty units undergoing renovation with no heat. Shut off the water at the source, and then run the faucets and flush the toilets until all the water is gone.

If you need help locating a frozen pipe, insulating your pipes, or dealing with the aftermath of a pipe burst, Sanitary Plumbing is happy to assist. Call us at 212-734-5000, or use our handy online form to schedule an appointment. We’re available 24/7 for emergencies. Hopefully, if you follow the advice above, you won’t have to call us for a burst pipe this winter!


Our Privacy Policy

Omnia Mechanical Group(the “Company”) strives to ensure the highest standards for property listings and customer information privacy. Please review the following statement to learn about our company practices and policies. Please be aware that our Privacy Policy is subject to change at any time.

1. Purpose.

This Privacy Policy (“the Policy”) provides information on how the Company uses your personal information. By agreeing to the Policy, you agree to our collection and use of your personal information as described in the Policy. This Privacy Policy is effective for all new users of Sanitaryplumbing.com.

2. Personal Information.

You can browse some areas of omniagroup.nyc (“the Website”) without being a registered user. However, certain activities do require registration. (You consent to the transfer and storage of your information by registering with omniagroup.nyc).

3. Use of Information.

Our primary purpose in collecting personal information is to provide you with a safe and user-friendly experience. For example, the Company may use your personal information to:

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We may occasionally ask you to complete optional surveys. These surveys are used to improve and customize your experience with Sanitaryplumbing.com.

The Company always provides you the ability to opt-out of further communication such as promotions and surveys; see the Opt-Out section below.

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The Website may have links to other websites that may collect personally identifiable information about you. The Company is not responsible for the privacy practices of the content of those linked websites.

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The Website has strict security measures in place to protect you and your information from fraud. Once your information is provided to Omnia Mechanical Group, we strive to ensure the confidentiality of your identity and information.

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The Company provides you with the opportunity to opt-out of receiving promotional and other non-essential, marketing-related communications from Omnia Mechanical Group. If you would like to opt-out of these select communications, please see any of the Company’s email communications and follow the directions indicated.

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The Company does not guarantee the accuracy of information for any and all of its properties on the Website, and is not responsible for any errors or misrepresentations (made by Renters, the Client, or otherwise).

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The Company may place a small cookie on your computer’s hard drive. This allows us to personalize your use on the Website. In order to maximize the functionality and usability of the Website, you must set your browser’s preferences to allow both permanent and temporary cookies.

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Should your personal information change, please immediately update your information on the Website. This will ensure the accuracy of our records. The Company does retain personal information from closed accounts in order to comply with law and collect and disburse any fees owed.

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This Privacy Policy addresses only the use of information we collect from you. Since omniagroup.nyc does not control the privacy policies of third parties, you are subject to the privacy policies of those third parties. It is advisable that you consult with the management of third parties before you disclose your personal information to others.

12. General

We may amend this Privacy Policy at any time by posting the amended terms on the Website. All amended terms are immediately effective after they are initially posted on the Website.

13. Privacy Policy Questions & Concerns

Questions and/or concerns regarding the Policy should be emailed to the following email address: info@omniagroup.nyc.