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How to thaw frozen pipes, or keep them from freezing in the first place

Updated: Jun 29, 2019

Written by Mark H. Anbinder

The Ithaca Fire Department has wise words for area residents who are experiencing frozen water pipes in their houses and apartments due to the frigid weather: never use anything but a hair dryer to thaw them!

A hair dryer on hot, aimed at pipes from a few inches away, might take a while, but that’s the only safe way to thaw a frozen pipe, says Lt. Thomas T. Basher Jr. of IFD. “Pipes conduct heat extremely well, so even if the freeze is behind a wall, you can usually thaw it out.”

Leaving cabinets open to help warm room air circulate under sinks can help prevent pipes from freezing in the first place, but be sure there are no hazardous items where children or pets can get at them. Running the water for a little bit in each bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, etc. each day can also help avoid freezing by keeping the water moving.

Read more tips on thawing pipes and keeping them from freezing at


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