I have a frozen steel pipe in my basement. I there anything I can do to thaw it before the pipe bursts?
Yes, there is. Close the shutoff valve and turn on the faucet that leads to the frozen pipe. After wrapping rags around the pipe, pour a pot of boiling water on the rags. It may take several pots, but the pipe will eventually thaw. The same process can be used with a hair dryer instead of boiling water. It is very important to begin either method on the section of pipe that is closest to the faucet, moving further away from the faucet as the ice thaws. The reason for this is because a buildup of pressure can occur as the pipe thaws. If the pressure is not able to escape the pipe will burst. The faucet is the only outlet for the pressure to escape, so it is important to keep it clear. To prevent future freezing, you should insulate your pipes.