Most people are aware that there are things that must be done to ensure that water leaks don't occur due to winter temperatures. Unfortunately, either due to an early freeze or because of simple oversight, a frozen pipe in the wall can result in major damage to your home. The following can help you solve the issue so you aren't paying for big repairs later.
Shut off the water
The very first thing to do is to cut off the water supply to the frozen pipes. Although this won't prevent some minor water leakage in the event the pipes burst, it will limit the flow to whatever is still in the pipes. If you know exactly where the pipes have frozen, you can just cut off the supply to those pipes. If you are unsure of the extent of the freezing, a better option is to turn off the water main that flows into the entire house. Yes, you will temporarily have no running water, but you also won't have to worry about water damage.
Get the air flowing
Cold air trapped in the exterior walls where the pipes traverse through is likely the cause of the freezing. By opening up cabinet and vanity doors, the heat from the rest of the home can gently heat the pipes and thaw them out. You can also use a blow dryer on the low setting to gently heat the pipe that you suspect has frozen. Another option is to wrap the pipe with a heating cable to thaw it out. Of course, these are only options if you can reach the pipe and it isn't buried in the wall or foundation.
Protect against leaks
If you can't get the pipes unfrozen, do what you can to prevent damage in case they burst. This may mean placing buckets under sink pipes that are frozen or being prepared to cut out drywall and set up fans to dry out the internal structures of walls if a leak occurs. Having an emergency plan in place may not prevent all damage, but it can control how much damage you experience.
Call an emergency plumber
An emergency plumber such as Windy City Rooter Inc can quickly thaw out pipes if they haven't yet burst. They do this with a pipe thawing machine. This machine resembles a battery with attached jumper cables. The cables are attached to the pipe, where they send low voltage electricity through to thaw the water quickly. If a pipe has already burst, your plumber can thaw out the remaining pipes and quickly replace the broken one to prevent further damage.