How to Thaw Frozen Pipes in a Commercial Property

Cold temperatures present many challenges for businesses, with frozen pipes posing a significant concern. Left unattended, the ice can cause pipes to burst, leading to extensive repairs for your plumbing system and any water damage.

3 Signs a Pipe Is Frozen

Many pipes run through unheated and potentially uninsulated areas, increasing their risk of freezing. Your commercial property’s pipes may be frozen if you notice:

  • Changes in water flow: If your running water slows from a stream to a trickle, reduced flow may mean your pipes are frozen.
  • Pipe distortion: Water molecules expand as they freeze, so the water in a frozen pipe puts pressure on the interior as it requires more room, creating bulges. 
  • Unusual sounds: Frozen pipes may make gurgling or banging sounds due to the chunks of ice inside, and a loud popping noise can accompany a burst pipe.

When to Worry About Frozen Pipes

Pipes can freeze whenever the water inside them reaches 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but it’s most likely when outdoor temperatures are below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. At these temperatures, pipes can freeze in as little as six to eight hours.

Generally, you should thaw frozen pipes as soon as you notice them. Frozen pipes bursting is more likely as the pressure inside them builds, and water will flow freely from any cracks once they thaw.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

Thawing frozen pipes improperly — such as with an open flame or an unattended space heater — can be dangerous. Consider calling a professional or use only safe methods, including:

  • Opening any cabinet doors or other closed spaces to warm the air around the pipes.
  • Soaking towels in hot water, wrapping them around the pipes and replacing them as they cool.
  • Using a hairdryer or portable heater to warm the pipes.

Before you begin, turn off the water going to the pipes, but leave the faucets open. Thawing the ice in your pipes will create steam and flowing water, which will need a way to escape. If you notice any water leaking from the pipes, immediately stop using any electrical devices. 

Even if your pipes thaw before bursting, they may have cracks, indicated by leaks. Address any leaks and repair the pipes right away to reduce water damage. 

Contact URI When Frozen Pipes Burst

When frozen pipes burst at your business, expert commercial property restoration can help you address the damage and minimize downtime. Unlimited Restoration allows business owners to restore their properties and reopen their doors as soon as possible. We can also help you prepare for catastrophic events to ensure a fast response in a crisis. 

Explore our services and contact our team to learn more about how we can help you address frozen pipes on your commercial property. 


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