How to Thaw Frozen Pipes Underground

This quick post shows how to thaw frozen pipes underground.  When your water stops flowing during the winter months, there’s a high probability that your pipes are frozen.  There are two sides to the water pipe to your home, the Municipal side and the home owner side.  You are responsible for the water pipes that start roughly past the street onto your property.

Indoor pipes are easy to thaw.  A simple increase in the room temperature, and they are flowing again.  But here is how to thaw frozen pipes underground.  Pipes can be frozen between you home and the road. Plumbers will tell you they have to dig up the yard to defrost them. There is a better, easier way though.

Materials Used to Thaw Frozen Pipes Underground

Use a pond pump with a quarter inch nylon hose and also five gallons of water. And also a storage bin to contain the pond pump and nylon hose and any water that leaks from the pipe as you are working. Take the water meter off of the wall and proceed to push the line through the pipe until it comes to a blockage and push back and forth.  While you are doing this, the pond pump should be pumping warm or cold water through the hose.  Push the hose back and forth until the blockage is gone. You can use hot or cold water, it doesn’t matter which. This can take up to 12 hours to complete

Use a Shutoff Valve for Thawed Underground Pipes

You need to have some sort of shutoff valve at the place where you removed the meter. A ball shutoff valve will work the best. When the water starts flowing again you will need this.  About 50 pounds of water will be coming through the pipe when it is fully thawed.

Prevent Frozen Pipes Down the Road

After you experience frozen pipes once, you never want them again. So with that in mind, here are a few ways to make sure pipes don’t freeze in the future.

Make sure to have your sprinkler system blown out and disconnect garden hoses from your outdoor spigots before winter arrives. Be certain to open a faucet connected to a vulnerable plumbing line to allow a small trickle of cold water to run all night. Also make sure, at night, make sure that you open ALL of the under-sink cabinets to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.

And finally, never set the thermostat lower than 55 degrees, even if you’re out of town also be sure to insulate exposed piping on external walls.