How to stop frozen pipes without a plumber

By Kemar Trepair on November 01, 2020

    How to stop frozen pipes without a plumber

Winter comes with so much more than snow days and reasons to be on the couch. It normally gives you more things to think about other than shoveling snow from your driveways. When the temperature decides to drop below zero, expose water supply pipes are now at risk of freezing, bursting, and flooding your home.

When the water reaches 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius it starts to freeze. This is the freezing point where water in its liquid form turns to ice, a solid. When the water in the pipeline turns solid it expands and not only blocks the floe of water but also causes the pipeline to break. Installed outside and in spaces without proper insulation are easier to freeze over. To replace small sections you can expect to pay between $353 to $1,840; as such prevention is better than a cure.

In cold weather, surprisingly, plastic pipes are more resistant to freezing. Plastic lines like PPV and CPVC are more rigid than their more flexible cousin the PEX. Plastic lines are more resistant simply because they can stretch, this characteristic is not shared with a Copper pipe. Benefits of insulating your pipes.

Prevents flooding

The obvious benefit of pipe insulation is that it keeps the water in your plumbing system from being frozen during the winter months. A burst pipe will flood your house and cost damages from a few hundred to a couple of thousands of dollars in damages.

Reduces Energy bill

Another often overlooked benefit of having your pipes insulated is that it reduces your energy bill. Hot water tends to lose heat as it travels through the waterlines. Insulating your hot water pipes result in heat being retained, which reduces the energy consumption in heating the water. Another added benefit of this is that the hot water reaches your pipe faster.
Controlling Condensation

When the surfaces of plumbing pipes are cooler than the surrounding air, they tend to attract the moisture in the warm air causing “sweat” or condensation to form on the outside of pipes. When enough condensation is formed it will drip and cause puddles on your floor. If the condensation is not dealt with, over time it will cause your pipes and their fittings to erode.

Protects your family

When people come in contact with very hot or cold pipes it can cause severe burns. Having your line insulated protects both your pipes and your family.

Sound Control

Water running through pipes creates vibration, especially when the house is quiet. Pipe insulation helps absorb excess sounds, thereby creating a quieter environment. How to know if the water in your pipes has frozen. If you turn on the faucet and it comes in drips or trickles of water, you may have a frozen pipeline. During the winter seasons, you need to watch your supply carefully. Walk around, take notes of very cold spots, also look for burst lines.

Precautions need to be taken before winter begins, if not your pipes may burst.

To avoid your pipes freezing over you can insulate the pipes in your crawl spaces, basements, and attics. There are four main types of insulation for your pipes: conventional foam insulation, self-sealing foam insulation, spray foam insulation, and fiberglass pipe covers.

Conventional Foam Insulation

It is highly recommended to tape the slits shut once installed to enhance the insulation capability. The cost for conventional foam rubbers can vary anywhere from $4.70 to $9.95 per piece. The price you will pay is dependent on the brand, the size, and the length. You can purchase these at Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon Canada, or Rubber-Cal.
Conventional foam insulation is best suited for pipes in areas with space to enable you to maneuver to properly fit the pipes within the foam.

Installing Conventional Foam Installation

Things you will need:
  • Self-sealing insulation
  • 2. Retractable utility knife
  • 3. Tape measure
  • 4. Duct tape

1 Measure the length of the pipe and using your retractable utility knife, cut conventional insulation foam to the size.

2 Place the pipe in the conventional insulation foam, taking care not to leave any exposed area.
3 Duct tape the slit of the conventional insulation foam, ensuring that all openings are securely shut.

Self-sealing foam insulation

Self-sealing foam insulation is similar to conventional foam insulation. The only difference is that it carries an adhesive along the slit. After you fit the pipe in the foam you remove the tape and press the adhesive strips together.

Self-sealing foam retails for $2.47 to $118.51 per piece. Similar to conventional foam insulation the price you pay is dependent on the brand, size, and length. You may purchase self-sealing foam at, Home Depot, Home Hardware Canada, or Grainger Canada.

Installing Self-sealing Foam Installation

Things you will need:
1. Self-sealing insulation
2. Retractable utility knife
3. Tape measure

Step 1 Measure the length of the pipe and, using your retractable utility knife cut self-sealing foam insulation to the size.

Step 2 Place the pipe in the self-sealing foam insulation, taking care not to leave any exposed area.

Step 3 Remove the tape and press the adhesive strips together

Spray foam insulation

Spray foam insulation also called foaming insulation, or spray insulation is done by mixing two fast-reacting liquids, isocyanate and polyol resin, that expand to create foam when the mixture is done. There are two types of spray foam insulation Open-cell foam and Closed-cell foam. Open-cell foam has a lower thermal resistance per inch than closed-cell, because of this it is approximately 30% cheaper. however, due to its lower thermal resistance, it must be applied in a thicker layer.

Leave spray foam application, to the professionals. The cost to apply Spray foam insulation to your pipes can cost $0.44 to $1.50 per square foot. Expanding foam insulation costs from about $0.50 to $2.50 per square foot. The cost of spray foam insulation depends on how thick it is and the company you use.
For small areas, you can do the application by purchasing a can of spray foam insulation for as little as $6.28 at Home Depot.

Applying DIY Spray Foam Insulation to small areas

Things you will need:
can spray foam
foam cleaner
Serrated Knife

1 Prep area by removing dust and debris.

2 Shake can for 60 seconds.

3 Attached the dispenser that includes your spray foam following the instructions on the label.

4 Hold can upside down and insert into the gap between the wall and the pipe.

5 Activate spray foam by pulling the trigger.

6 Once the foam is completely dry, cut the excess with the serrated knife.

Fiberglass pipe covers

Fiberglass Pipe Insulation covering is thermal insulation for both hot and cold water pipes. You can use these on pipes from -20°F to 1000°F. The pipe insulation is molded from heavy density resin bonded glass fibers that come in 3 foot long hinged sections. Fiberglass pipe insulation tends not to support the growth of mold or mildew. You can get this by the roll at 25inch length roll at Lowest for $10.49 for a roll that is 25 inches long.

Installing Fiberglass pipe covering

Things you will need:
1. Rag
2. Cleaning products
3. Utility knife Fiberglass insulation5. Duct or acrylic tape6. Plastic sheeting


1 Clean pipe using a degreaser or grease-cutting dish detergent and a rag. This will ensure the pipes are oil-free. Wipe clean and allow to completely dry.

2 Cut fiberglass batts into 6-inch strips, using a utility knife.

3 Place one end of the strip of the fiberglass insulation on one end of the pipe. Use your duct tape or acrylic tape to secure the insulation to the pipe. If you are applying to a gas water heater, move at least 6 inches away from the flue before starting your insulation. Wrap the fiberglass around the pipe in a spiral. Overlap each layer of fiberglass by 1/2 inch as you move along the length of the pipe.

4 Using a light touch apply a strip of tape to the insulation every 1 to 2 feet to securely hold the insulation in place. Secure the end of the insulation to the pipe when insulation is done.

5 Using your plastic sheeting start at one end of the insulated pipe and cover the insulation using a spiral technique. Secure with your acrylic or duct tape every 1 to 2 feet. The plastic helps to prevent condensation from dripping off the pipe and onto the floor.

If despite your best effort your pipes still manage to freeze, you can thaw them by locating the frozen section, turn on the faucet associated with this section of the pipe, to encourage a steady flow of water against the ice. After this, focus on your heating source (between your trusted blow dryer or your steady stream of warm water thrown on it externally). If the freeze is severe it will need an aggressive thawing session.

If the pipes freeze again within 7 to 14 days it may be a more serious issue with insulation or pipe location and it is now time to get a professional plumber within your budget through Bridggez Connect.