How To Unblock A Frozen Drain Pipe

Wednesday 4th November 2020

No comments, yet!

Snow and icicles on frozen pipe

How To Unblock A Frozen Drain Pipe

Each year it feels like our winters are getting colder, with many parts of the UK plummeting to temperatures as low as -18C. We are currently entering the coldest time of the year, which means  one thing;  frozen drain pipes. Winter is one of the most challenging seasons to manage, both inside and outside of your home. Without realising, we rely on central heating to keep us warm, but what would happen if there was something stopping our heating from reaching us? 

When water freezes it expands, leaving the pipe blocked. The more water involved, the bigger the frozen block will be, causing damage to the pipe and frustration for the homeowners. The more the blockage develops as the temperature drops, the bigger the risk of further damage to the pipes’ cracks. Once a large amount of water has solidified, it’s likely that a release in pressure will cause an eruption in the pipes, ultimately destroying the pipes and – in some cases – causing flooding.

As a homeowner, unless you’ve had a professional recently assess your pipes, you may not even realise that a pipe has burst or has incurred damages until the weather warms, allowing the ice to melt. According to the ABI, the freezing temperatures at the start of this year saw claims for burst pipes jump from £4m to £197m quarter-on-quarter, suggesting that as a nation we are unprepared for the impact of extreme weather.

What causes drain pipes to freeze?

Everyone will have to deal with a frozen pipe at some point in their lives. Frozen pipes are incredibly problematic in that they leave you without water circulating through your house, resulting in the inability to complete simple daily tasks, such as washing the dishes or having a bath. This can leave you feeling completely frustrated and confused about what to do. 

There are a variety of explanations as to why your drain pipe has frozen. Whilst the drop in temperature is the most common reason, other features may also be to blame, such as:

  • Faulty insulation around the pipes 
  • Lack of water flowing through an exposed drain pipe
  • A small crack within the drain pipe
Burst waste pipe

It can often be difficult to determine the cause. Luckily, we have some tips and tricks to help you unfreeze your pipes and get your household back to its usual functioning self. 

Before we dive into how to unfreeze a drainpipe, we have listed below some things to avoid: 

  • NEVER hold an open flame near a frozen drain pipe. There have been several cases where an individual has placed an open flame next to a frozen pipe and ended up losing their entire house to a fire. Blowtorches, open flames and candles should never be exposed to a frozen pipe.
  • NEVER use corrosive drain cleaners as they can cause a severe chemical reaction with either the ice or the pipes. This will result in the leak of a poisonous gas or substance that could shoot back up the pipe. If this were to happen, it could cause serious health issues – such as blindness.

Gradually Heat The Pipes

When a drain pipe is frozen, the trap part of the pipe is usually the main culprit. The trap is the abstract-looking piece of pipe located directly under your sink. The most simple way to unfreeze it is to warm it up. 

However, do not apply an extreme amount of heat or use any sort of open flame (such as a lighter or blow torch) as this may cause further damage to the pipe. If the pipe has been damaged through exposure to extreme heat, you will need to call out a professional service to fix the damage. 

You can gradually heat your frozen pipes by using some form of electrical equipment, such as a hair dryer or space heater. Do not place the product right on the pipe or you’ll risk further damage. If you do not have access to such products, or your plug socket won’t allow the product to reach near the pipe, then you can opt to use a heating pad, warmed towel or a wet towel that has been soaked in hot water. Ensure the soaked towel is thoroughly wrung out, then simply wrap the material around the pipe and leave it to thaw the ice inside.

The process cannot be rushed or else further damage may occur, resulting in an emergency call-out service. Wrap the pipe with a hot towel or place the space heater near the pipe and wait for roughly 20-30 minutes. Once the recommended time has passed, remove the product and turn on the taps. If no water comes through, try repeating the process one more time.

Pour Boiling Water Down The Drain Pipe

If you do not have access to such electrical appliances, then pouring boiling water down the pipe can be a another option. However, you should be extremely careful when completing this task as the boiling water has the potential to spit back up the pipe. This risk will depend on how far down the pipe the ice blockage is. 

Whether you heat a pan of water on the stove or boil the water in the kettle, there needs to be enough water to break through the ice and defreeze the drain completely. We advise that you only complete this process twice as if the pipe is severely blocked, the boiling water may not be able to break through the entire block of ice, resulting in the extra water becoming part of the frozen blockage.

Part thawed frozen pipe

If you have tried the two options above and are still not getting any water coming through your pipes, then there is one last trick you can try before bringing in the professionals. 

Add A Handful Of Salt

You may have seen salt trucks being used to disperse salt particles over the roads and pavements during the winter seasons. This takes place because salt can melt ice by lowering the freezing point of the water. You can apply the same methodology to your frozen drain pipe. Whilst we can’t promise instant results, we know from experience that this technique has the potential to be successful. 

Simply pour a handful of salt down your drain pipe, quickly followed by boiling water. Alternatively, boil the water in a saucepan and stir the salt in the boiling water. Once the salt has completely dispersed, carefully pour it down the drain. 

If you still haven’t had any luck, it may be time to call in the professionals. A specialist will be able to  thoroughly assess the pipes to find out why your pipes have frozen and where the blockage is located.

What To Do If You Know The Frozen Pipe Has Burst

In the unfortunate circumstance that your drain pipe has completely burst, the first thing you should do is shut off the main water line into your property to prevent any further damage occurring. Turning off the water mains will also prevent water from leaking or flooding into your house. To ensure ultimate safety, all electricity near the pipe should be shut off immediately as a precaution. 

When it comes to burst pipes, there is a high chance of leaks within your home. If not dealt with promptly, the leak could lead to flooding, dampness and mould. Luckily ICE is on hand, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to deal with emergencies such as flood damage, leak detection and mould remediation. We can have specialised technicians on-site within 60 minutes of your call, regardless of location or time. 

If All Else Fails, Call The Professionals

Ultimately, the best way to unfreeze your drain pipes is to contact the professionals. If you are unable to locate the pipe or the frozen blockage within the pipe, or you don’t feel confident that you will be able to thaw the frozen pipe without causing further damage, then give a professional team a call. Not only will they be able to fix the issue, they can also advise you on how to prevent similar incidents happening in the future. 

Comment
Jo Powell

Jo Powell

Business Development Manager

Add to contacts

Speak with me today,
I’m here to help

By asking you a few questions either via phone or email I can immediately provide a realistic estimation of the cost.

You’re in good company. We’ve cleaned for the following commercial clients… View all

Customer reviews

Our happy customers have rated our service as
4.9 on Google.

View All Reviews

Sarah Griffiths

Star Star Star Star Star

3 months ago

Great service and a very thorough clean was completed by ICE

Read more

Posted on Google

Marie Marshall

Star Star Star Star Star

3 months ago

Extremely polite gentlemen and an outstanding cleaning job thank you so much.

Read more

Posted on Google

Steve

Star Star Star Star Star

3 months ago

It was a great piece of mind that all the hard to reach places had been cleaned and due to the cleaning process the team are safe for 28 days. The…

Read more

Posted on Google

Carol Cabourn-Ford

Star Star Star Star Star

3 months ago

Ice cleaning came and cleaned my garden as well as disinfecting it after flooding. The cleaners were really professional and friendly. They really…

Read more

Posted on Google

Jordan Rush

Star Star Star Star

3 months ago

While my partner and I were redecorating and removing old wallpaper we unfortunately found a lot of black mould. ICE Cleaning were able to come out…

Read more

Posted on Google

Aquico Wen

Star Star Star Star Star

3 months ago

Hired ICE Cleaning to clean the front facade of a recently purchased property, an old Victorian terrace house in a poor state. They did a fantastic…

Read more

Posted on Google

Suzanne Greenslade

Star Star Star Star Star

3 months ago

Had to find a fire specialist cleaning company after my Mum had a small fire in her flat. ICE came out to quote on a Sunday and started the work 3…

Read more

Posted on Google

Stephen Askins

Star Star Star Star Star

3 months ago

Charles and Joe from Ice Cleaning arrived early, were sympathetic to our situation, explained what they could do and worked diligently despite…

Read more

Posted on Google

Anthony Stephens

Star Star Star Star Star

3 months ago

I found this company very professional and attentive. I contacted two other companies and soon realised that Ice Cleaning Solutions was the company…

Read more

Posted on Google

Bon

Star Star Star Star Star

4 months ago

Andy & Marcus turned up completely unexpectedly after we'd been under two feet of raw sewage. They were polite, friendly, the epitome of…

Read more

Posted on Google

inca ink

Star Star Star Star Star

4 months ago

I used ICE cleaning's mould remediation service for a renovation property. Not only did they give me the best price available on the market via…

Read more

Posted on Google

Michele Cochrane

Star Star Star Star Star

4 months ago

A truly excellent, professional team work carried out by Andy and Marcus to jet wash my front drive and patio, very polite and conscious; will not…

Read more

Posted on Google

Edo Pre

Star Star Star Star Star

4 months ago

Yaro and the people from Ice Cleaning are truly amazing. This is an honest review and is a long story. We were supposed to move in our new apartment…

Read more

Posted on Google

Helen Teresa Edwards

Star Star Star Star Star

4 months ago

Used the mould remediation service to sort out mould caused by condensation. Very pleased with the result

Read more

Posted on Google

Simon Pearce

Star Star Star Star Star

4 months ago

Extremely professional and prompt service with well equipped and knowledgeable staff all at a great price. Would definitely recommend. 10/10

Read more

Posted on Google

Jennifer Roberts

Star Star Star Star Star

5 months ago

Great results, professional and lovely people to deal with

Read more

Posted on Google

Levana UK Limited

Star Star Star Star

5 months ago

They knew exactly what they were doing. Good professional cleaning for the COVID compliance. Issued cleaning certificate as well.

Read more

Posted on Google

Donna Midgley-Bryan

Star Star Star Star Star

5 months ago

The quality of work in cleaning my house was excellent. It was also a delight to encounter such polite, caring and professional staff. Very highly…

Read more

Posted on Google

Rebecca Mason

Star Star Star Star Star

5 months ago

We used Ice Cleaning Solutions to provide a COVID-19 clean of a work premises. I found them courteous to deal with, very professional and prompt. I…

Read more

Posted on Google

Fay Westray

Star Star Star Star Star

5 months ago

Mould or fungus had started to grow in the well of the passenger seat of my car, probably as it had not been used much during lockdown.I used the web…

Read more

Posted on Google

We’re fully accredited

We place best practise, professional expertise and health and safety at the core of our business. We’re fully compliant with all legal obligations. You can view a list of our accreditations below, or visit our Health & Safety page for more information.

CSCS
BICSc
IOSH
SafeContractor
Dewpoint® Professional
IPAF
NACSC
0333 577 5805Open 24/7
Close

We use cookies

If you continue without changing your settings we'll assume you're happy to receive our cookies.
If you'd like to change this just update your browser settings. Find out more.

Okay. I got it.