How to Handle Frozen Pipes Before and After a Freeze

Dec 6, 2023 | Plumbing

Frozen pipes can be a nightmare for your business, stopping daily operations and resulting in costly repairs. However, there are some steps you can take to protect your pipes this winter. If your water pipes freeze, we’ll also look at what you can do to prevent or minimize damage.

Industrial Pipe Insulation

An effective way to prevent frozen pipes is by using insulation. You want to insulate any pipes in exposed and unheated areas. This includes water pipes in exterior walls, crawl spaces, and garages. While uncommon in Texas, some commercial buildings have basements. You will want to protect any pipes in basements or other underground areas.

Wrapping the exposed pipes in fiberglass, rubber, or foam insulation can provide adequate protection from freezing temperatures.

Preventative Tips For Frozen Pipes

Insulation can help prevent issues with frozen pipes, but there are other steps you can also take.

Draining all outdoor water lines is a task commercial businesses should take as the temperature starts dropping, typically in the late fall.

When freezes are in the weather forecast, turn the faucets on. Yes, you are wasting a little water, but keeping the liquid flowing through your pipes. Moving water has a slower freeze rate, and this can prevent your pipes from freezing. Don’t forget to open the sink cabinet doors. The warm air from your heating system will help the pipes stay warm.

Another helpful tip is to bump up the thermostat. Keeping your commercial building slightly warmer than average is another effective way to avoid issues with frozen pipes.

Outside Air Conditioner Pipes Frozen

Even though you rarely use your AC in the winter, even in southern Texas, you still don’t want to deal with frozen pipes. This may affect your HVAC’s ability to keep your building warm.

Before freezing weather arrives, have an HVAC technician check your AC for refrigerant leaks. Our technicians at CS Mechanical routinely perform this service for our commercial clients in the winter.

We will replace your unit’s air filter and check the blower fan. During our winterization inspection, our technicians will inspect the air vents and check your condensation drain line.

Sometimes, preventive maintenance is the best way to prevent your AC pipes from freezing.

Plumber for Frozen Pipes

Sometimes, warming up a frozen pipe can resolve the problem. You can wrap the frozen pipe in a heating pad, use a blow dryer, or position an electric space heater close to the pipe. However, you need to locate the frozen pipe before applying any of these methods.

Most commercial businesses opt for professional services. We will locate the frozen pipe and resolve the issue before issues with flooding from burst pipes occur. If the pipe bursts, we will make any necessary repairs and clean up the excess water.


Here’s a look at some of the most commonly asked questions our technicians at CS Mechanical often hear from our clients.

How to unfreeze pipes?

Open the faucet connected to the frozen pipe before applying heat. Keep heating the pipe until the water pressure is restored. If this method doesn’t work, it’s time to call a professional plumber.

What temperature do pipes freeze?

Water pipes can freeze when the temperature drops below 32°F. However, wrapping external pipes in insulation can help prevent this issue. Most pipes are okay if you leave a faucet dripping and open the sink cabinet doors. However, when the temperature is 20°F or lower, this may not be enough to prevent your water pipes from freezing.

How long does it take for pipes to thaw naturally?

There isn’t an easy answer to this question since it depends on the weather. Your pipes can stay frozen for days, weeks, or even months if the temperature stays at or below freezing.

Since extended freezing periods are rare in most parts of the state, frozen pipes typically take days to unfreeze. Unfortunately, you are probably dealing with at least one burst pipe by this time.

How do you protect pipes from freezing?

Wrapping the pipes in insulation can prevent issues with freezing. You should also leave the faucets dripping and open any sink cabinet doors. Opening cabinet doors allows heat to seep in, preventing water in the pipes from reaching freezing temperatures.

Suppose you’re unsure which pipes need insulating. A good rule is insulating all of your building’s exposed pipes.

How to find a frozen pipe?

Any faucet with low water pressure may be connected to a frozen pipe. Once you’ve located the faucet with little to no water pressure, the pipe is generally close by.

Should I turn off the water if the pipes are frozen?

If your pipes are frozen, you should turn off the water at the main shut-off valve. The next step is to call the professionals at CS Mechanical.