Once the weather turns cold, there's a real threat that PVC pipes could freeze. The colder it is the greater risk of this happening. If you are an unfortunate homeowner whose pipes have frozen, there are a few things you can try in order to thaw them out on your own.
First thing you have to do is locate the frozen pipe. The culprit is most likely located somewhere along an exterior wall of your home or at the point where the piping network enters your home somewhere around the foundation. If you have no heat in your basement or if your home doesn't have a basement, and the underside of your home isn't insulated, it could be a pipe underneath your home. Once you've found the frozen PVC pipes, you can attempt to thaw them out.
Start by opening up the faucet so when the water begins to melt inside the pipe it has a place to go. It will also help melt the remaining ice as it runs along the piping network on its way to the faucet. Once the faucet is opened, you can begin to apply heat to the pipe.
Here are a couple of heat sources you can try:
A heating pad: Wrap it around the frozen pipe and turn it on high
A hair dryer: Turn the hairdryer on high and point it toward the frozen area on the PVC pipeline
A portable space heater: Turn the heater on high, and place near the frozen PVC pipe. NOTE: Be very careful to never place a space heater near any flammable materials or vapors as this could cause a fire.
Whatever heat source you use should be applied to the frozen pipe until the water starts flowing and the water pressure in the pipes is back up to where it should be. If you stop applying heat before the water pressure is back up to normal, there could still be ice in the lines that could cause them to freeze up again.
Once the water is flowing, be sure to check the lines for leaks.
If you have tried in vain or you aren't able to locate or reach the frozen PVC pipe, do yourself a favor and ask for help. Contact a professional or a friend who can help you thaw out PVC pipes.
Once you thaw out frozen PVC pipes, try to prevent it from happening again using these tips to prevent your lines from freezing.
If any part of your PVC piping network runs through your garage, consider investing in an insulated garage door. This will help hold heat in and keep cold out.
Open any cabinet doors in your home where pipes run through them. This will allow the warm air from your home to seep inside the cabinets and keep the pipes warm. The most common places where pipes run through your cabinets are underneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks.
Leave your faucet open a little to allow the water to continually flow. Flowing water will not freeze solid.
Wrap your PVC pipes with heat tape or special foam covers designed to keep the cold out.