A faucet that won't yield water is the first sign of frozen pipes.
If a severe cold snap hits, prevent freezing and subsequent bursting
of pipes by following the suggestions below. Even if the pipes do
freeze, you can thaw them before they burst if you act quickly. When
temperatures fall very low, here's how to keep your pipes from freezing:
Keep a trickle of water running from the faucets.
Beam a heat lamp or small heater at exposed pipes.
Wrap uninsulated pipes with newspapers, heating
wires, foam, or self-adhesive insulating tape.
Keep doors ajar between heated and unheated rooms.
Thawing Frozen Pipes
If a pipe freezes:
Shut off the water at the main shutoff valve and
open the faucet nearest to the frozen pipe so it can drain as it
Waterproof the area with containers and plastic
drop clothes in case leaks occur.
Use one of the following methods to gradually warm
the frozen pipe. Be sure to work from the faucet toward the iced-up
Propane Torch With a flame-spreading-nozzle, the
torch will quickly thaw a frozen pipe.
Safety Tip Shield flammable areas with a fireproof
sheet, don't let the pipe get too hot to touch.
Hair Dryer Used like the torch, a dryer will gently
defrost the pipe.
Heating Pad Wrap a length of pipe with a heating
Heat Lamp For pipes behind walls, floors, or ceilings,
beam a heat lamp 8 or more inches from the surface.
Hot Water If no other method is available, wrap
the pipe (except plastic) in rags and pour boiling water on it.
Professional Tip for Frozen Pipes
When loosening frozen connections, instead of using a wrench to force
nuts and couplings frozen in place, douse the connection with penetrating
oil. Wait half an hour; then loosen with a wrench.