How to Find Frozen Pipes in Your Home

Warming up frozen pipes is the easy part. Finding where to do so is harder.

Winter can cause many problems for homes, and one of the most common is frozen pipes. The difficult part isn't heating the pipes to get water flowing again; it’s finding the spot that's frozen.

So many water pipes

Your home is crisscrossed with water pipes. Every sink and shower has its own piping, plus there are pipes that come in from the outside to supply your home. There can be hundreds of feet of pipe inside, and somewhere in that web of metal or PVC is a section filled with ice.

The frozen part can be anywhere from near a single faucet to where the main feeder pipe enters the house.

Looking for clues

Odds are you discovered the issue when you turned on a faucet and either nothing came out or it was just a trickle. You now get to become a detective and begin looking for that pesky frozen pipe.

Find everything that's not working

With so much piping, you need to narrow where it could be. Turn on all the faucets and see which ones are not working. If all the ones in a single room don't work, the frozen pipe is between the split from the main line. If all the faucets on the floor don't work, it's between where the first and second floor pipes separate.

If no faucets work, it's likely somewhere near where the main water pipe enters the house. Frozen pipes tend to be located along exterior walls that are not well insulated.

Identify the right spot

With the area narrowed down, it's time to find the specific section of pipe that is frozen. If the pipe isn’t the main feeder pipe, it’s probably within the walls and probably difficult to get to. If you're lucky, it's an exposed part of the pipe near a faucet.

If it's the main feeder pipe, your best bet is to look in the basement or crawlspace and try to find the exposed pipes there.

How to tell

Visually, the frozen pipe may have a layer of condensation on it or even a white area where the condensation froze. If you see that, you've likely caught your culprit.

If there isn't a visual cue, you’ll need to touch the pipe and check for a temperature difference. A frozen area will be colder than everywhere else. It's not an exact science, but it's one way to find the general area you need to heat up.

Heating the pipe

Once you find the area, you'll need to warm the frozen pipe up to melt the ice pack.  Wrap the frozen pipe in an electric heating pad or towel doused in hot water. Keep the faucet open, so you know when the pipe begins to thaw.

Do not use a blowtorch or other open flame device as it may end up super heating the pipe or causing an injury.

Still can't find the pipe?

If you can't find the pipe or if it is in an inaccessible area, give London Renovations a call and we can help you.