One of the many challenges homeowners face with their plumbing systems is a frozen toilet drain pipe.
This is a condition that’s quite common in winter and can be very annoying and frustrating. Not only are pipes frozen, but they’re also likely to get damaged due to freezing conditions.
Dealing With A Frozen Toilet That Won’t Flush
This type of problem becomes glaring when it involves your toilet drain pipes. When it does, you won’t be able to use the toilets until the problem is solved.
This can become a nightmare for many as their convenience becomes unusable.
If you’re currently faced with such a problem, you’ll need to read along for possible solutions.
How to Identify a Frozen Toilet Drain Pipe
When your toilet suddenly develops a fault due to frost conditions, the problem is likely to be attributed to many situations.
Frozen toilet drain pipes only occur during winter when there’s a significant drop in temperatures. Even at that, further diagnosis is required to determine the cause of clogging.
The need to act immediately is necessary to avoid burst pipes. As water freezes, it expands. This is likely to lead to cracks in pipes that could lead to a bigger mess.
Therefore, you’ll need to look out for visible frost as well as uneven or slow water supply. What more? Check for damp walls and leaks.
Let’s further discuss each of these points.
If you’re suspecting that your toilet drain pipe is frozen, one way to confirm your fears is by taking a look at exposed sections of your drain pipes.
This is likely to show visible signs of frost. When discovered, it means that your toilet drain pipe is frozen and needs to be thawed.
The steps you take in thawing your frozen toilet drain pipe are entirely up to you. There are several ways to go about the process. These will be discussed shortly.
Visible frost is likely to be found in sections of your drain pipe that are most exposed. These could be around crawl spaces, and attics, etc.
Uneven or Slow Water Supply
Other times, frozen toilet drain pipes aren’t so obvious.
Such a problem could disguise as a malfunction or faulty plumbing. Here, the problem could be mistaken for a clogged toilet drain.
For a more comprehensive diagnosis of the problem, it’s best to have a plumber inspect the drain line.
Damp Walls and Leaks
Another way of identifying frozen toilet drain pipes is by observing your walls for signs of dampness as well as possible leaks. Remember we said that frozen pipes lead to expansion which results in cracks.
You might observe wet carpeting or damp drywall which is a clear symptom of a frost problem.
To ensure that the problem is well managed, it’s necessary to have an experienced plumber check your toilet drain system to identify and fix the problem.
How to Fix a Frozen Toilet Drain Pipe
Having discovered a frost problem in your toilet drain pipe, you’re left with two options; taking the DIY approach or calling a pro.
If you’re not technically inclined or clueless about carrying out necessary fixes, then calling a professional (in this case a plumber) will be the best approach to take.
The DIY alternative will be readily followed for persons seeking to get involved in carrying out necessary fixes. For a comprehensive understanding of what’s involved, let’s take a look at both approaches.
i. DIY Approach to Fixing the Problem
There are several ways of thawing frozen toilet drain pipes without the need to call a professional.
Some of these strategies include draping the pipe with hot towels, applying heating pads, turning on a space heater, heating with a hairdryer, and wrapping the pipe with heat tape.
Draping with Hot Towels
Because the objective is to thaw the frozen drainpipe, using hot towels helps get you the results you seek. Of course, you’ll need several of these towels soaked in hot water.
These are continually placed over the frozen area until the desired results are achieved.
Applying Heating Pads
Another method of thawing a frozen toilet drain pipe is by wrapping such pipe(s) with heating pads.
When wrapped, they’re turned on to the lowest temperature setting and allowed to slowly thaw the frost conditions.
Turning on a Space Heater
For this method to be effective, you should ensure there aren’t flammable materials within three feet of your space heater. Defrosting a wider pipe area won’t be as effective with this technique as it would a small area.
In other words, the use of a space heater is best when the frozen area of the pipe is small.
Turn on your space heater and adjust to a low temperature. This will slowly thaw the frozen pipe, thus unclogging it.
Heating with Hair Dryer
Frozen toilet drain pipes can be fixed with a simple too like a hairdryer. With the dryer set its lowest setting point over the frozen area(s) of your plumbing.
A back and forth movement may be necessary over affected areas to help thaw the ice. You’ll have to be patient to get the results you seek.
Wrapping with Heat Tape
Electrical heat tape can serve as a handy tool for fixing frozen toilet drain pipes.
All you have to do is wrapping over the tape around the affected area and connect to a power outlet. You’ll have to frequently check to see whether the thawing process is completed or not.
ii. Calling the Pro
The services of a reputable plumber are vital when faced with frozen toilet drain pipes.
Instead of trying to solve the problem yourself which could bring up several issues, it’s best to have a pro get the job done. Plumbers are skilled in all issues relating to toilet drain pipe malfunction.
Here is how to keep toilet pipes from freezing.
Preventing Frozen Toilet Drain Pipes
Having solved a frozen toilet drainpipe issue, it’s necessary to put measures in place to prevent a reoccurrence.
Absence from your home for extended periods during the winter will require leaving the heat on with the least temperatures not dropping below 55 degrees F.
Also, you might want to improve your home’s insulation.
Areas targeted include crawl spaces, attics, and basements. What more? It’s important to have openings and cracks around sill plates, windows, and doors sealed off.
Now you know what needs to be done when faced with a frozen toilet drain pipe. We’ve looked at the causes and possible solutions.
Also, we’ve provided information on preventive approaches to adopt.