How Long Does It Take For Frozen Pipes To Unfreeze?

By the time your pipes have frozen, you have a dire situation. “How long does it take for pipes to unfreeze?” might feel like anyone’s guess. You can choose to wait and hope for rising temperatures to solve the issue or you can take steps to speed up the process. 

We don’t recommend the waiting game because the longer your pipes are frozen the more likely it is that they could burst. 

Burst pipes lead to water damage and water damage may result in structural and property damage, not to mention mold growth. If you choose to unfreeze your own pipes, how long it takes for pipes to thaw depends on whether the pipes are exposed, enclosed, or underground. 

It will take roughly 30-40 minutes of using a heat source to thaw exposed pipes. If the pipes are enclosed it will take longer for heat to penetrate the insulation between your heat source and the pipe. 

If a frozen pipe is underground but still within your home, like a shower drain, you may be able to successfully unfreeze it with running warm water and a lot of persistence. However, if the frozen pipe is leading into or away from your home, such as a water line, you may be faced with an extremely time-consuming and labor-intensive task. 

HRS Restoration Services has been trusted to unfreeze pipes and repair the damage they might cause for nearly 25 years in two large metropolitan areas with wacky weather: Denver. Clients rave about our attention to detail and our 24/7 availability. The weather doesn’t take off on the weekends and neither do we!

At the very first sign of frozen pipes, call on our professional team of experts to unfreeze your pipes and deal with any resulting plumbing issues. 

What Causes Pipes To Freeze?

When the temperature outside is 20 degrees, your pipes are in danger of freezing. If the temperature remains at 20 degrees or colder for any length of time, your pipes will remain frozen. 

Even if your pipes aren’t exposed to 20 degrees or less, but are exposed to wind chill and ice, it is still possible for them to freeze. It is more common for pipes to freeze in homes that lack proper insulation inside walls and around pipes. 

If you keep your home’s thermostat too low, you are also at risk of frozen pipes since your home’s temperature won’t create enough of a buffer if there’s a cold snap. Sudden and severe changes in temperature also contribute to the chance of your home’s pipes freezing. 

Symptoms Of Frozen Pipes

An observant homeowner may be tipped off that their pipes are at risk of freezing based on a few telltale signs. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to trust your instincts, and rather than worry how long do pipes take to unfreeze, move quickly to lessen the damage. 

Any time the weather outside drops to 20 degrees or below and is predicted to persist be on the lookout for: 


If the temperature outside is 20 degrees or below, your pipes may freeze. 

This is especially true if there is inadequate insulation around your pipes, they are exposed directly to the outside air, and if the decrease in temperature lasts for many hours, or if you are away from the home, many days.


Frost On Pipes

Visible frost on your pipes is never a positive sign. You can easily see frost on exposed piping that may be in your basement or under your sinks. Frost on your pipes is a telltale sign that your pipes have frozen, leaving many homeowners to consider how long does it take for frozen pipes to thaw and the actions needed to limit damage in their homes.

No Water Is Coming Out Of Faucet

We all know that sound when you twist the knob and nothing happens. The sound of the suction without the familiar swoosh of water is never a positive sign. When no water is coming from your faucet and your water valve is still opened, your pipes have frozen. Turn off your home’s water valve as soon as possible. 

Strange Smells

If you notice unpleasant odors coming from your drains, this is a sign that your pipes may be frozen. When sewage and food is prevented from moving freely due to frozen pipes, bad smells have nowhere to go except back up your drains. 

Bulging Pipes

When water freezes it expands and puts pressure on your pipes. If you notice a bulge in your pipes, frozen water in your pipes is most likely the cause.


How To Unfreeze, Fix, & Prevent Frozen Pipes

Using an open heat source could damage your pipes or lead to fire, so choose a method like a space heater, hot towels, or an infrared lamp with exposed pipes. If the frozen pipes are enclosed, you can use an infrared heater or turn up your home’s heat but you may ultimately have to cut into your wall to get close enough to unfreeze the pipes

Unfreezing Frozen Pipes

As soon as the temperature is 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below, your pipes are at risk for freezing. 

If you live in a climate like the Southwest where colder temperatures are less common, and your home is older, chances are that your pipes are not as well insulated as they would be in a home in say Chicago. If your pipes do freeze, you can take steps to lessen the chance of them bursting by acting quickly and applying heat in a safe but controlled way. 

As soon as your pipes freeze you’ll want to: 

  • Shut off the main water valve if a pipe has burst. If it hasn’t happened yet, slightly open your sink valves.
  • Use a safe heating source like a hairdryer or space heater. Keep space heaters at a distance from any flammable materials. 
  • Watch for any leaks from the pipes as they begin to warm up.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

First the bad news. Frozen pipes are common when you have an extreme temperature drop and if you live in an older home. 

Now for the good news. With a little foresight, you may be able to prevent your pipes from freezing despite the age of your home or what Mother Nature has in store. 

Ways to Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing: 

  • Install pipe insulation – an especially easy fix for exposed pipes
  • Keep Your Garage Door Closed 
  • Open up the Doors underneath enclosed kitchen and bathroom pipes
  • Keep Your Home’s Temperature Consistent – You’ve got enough to content with the changing weather
  • Keep Your Heat On When You’re Away
  • Create a Barrier Between a Crawl Space and the Rest of Your Home.

When To Call Professional Help

The longer a pipe has been frozen, the more likely it is that it will burst. If you return home to frozen pipes, it may be in your best interest to call a professional team to unfreeze your pipes as you are in a race against time and you don’t know when the race started. 

Otherwise, if your pipes freeze and you have tried unsuccessfully, to unfreeze them yourself, and especially if the pipes are enclosed in a wall or away from your home’s foundation, making them inaccessible without the proper equipment – call a professional with the experience and tools to unfreeze your pipes as quickly as possible. 

You will not have access to running water until the problem is fixed and won’t be able to shower, bathe, boil water or wash your hands. 

Not only can frozen pipes lead to expensive repairs when they burst but not being able to perform daily tasks is more than an inconvenience, it’s a sanitation issue. 

Why Choose HRS Restoration Services

HRS Restoration Services is a full-service company that can quickly and efficiently get to work on frozen pipes right away. Our trained and certified professionals are experienced in plumbing issues and if your pipes burst, we’ll help with water extraction and mold remediation – anything related to water damage! 

Our customers appreciate our level of service and attention to detail. Contact HRS Restoration Services today!

Call us as soon as you notice signs of frozen pipes. Our experienced reconstruction and restoration specialists are available 24/7 to help.

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