If you reside in places that have severely cold conditions for several weeks per year, you would certainly need to struggle with frozen kitchen sink drains. It is not just a freezing climate but also the bad plumbing which exposes the kitchen drainage pipes to the frost. If you want to know how to thaw a blocked sink drain without calling the plumber, you are here at the right place.
Solution # 1
The Blow Dryer + Wet/Dry Vac Method
If there is a wall (closet) with connections to the drain, you should cut or remove the panel at the floor level and unfreeze the pipes using a blow dryer. Then cover this up with insulation for future needs. Mount an additionally-purchased access panel door on the cutting spot.
If that does not do it, you should progress to the next stage.
Run a wet/dry vacuum, eliminate accumulated water and then pour hot water until the iced drain is unblocked. For a more powerful effect, you may also target the hairdryer on the hot setting in the sink drain.
Solution # 2
Baking Soda + Vinegar Method
Sprinkle baking soda into the kitchen drain, then wait for 30-40 seconds. Now add in 1 cup of white vinegar into the sink and let it rest for a few minutes. You would be able to see and hear a bubbling and fizzing sound as a result of the chemical reaction going on inside the drain. In addition to clearing the frozen obstruction, the mixture may also cleanse the vessel, removing sludge. Continue to stage 2 when the baking soda + vinegar blend is still in the sink.
Stir in salt into 3-4 cups of hot water. Slowly pour this hot water down the drain. This will allow the baking soda and vinegar combination to go through the pipes. Salt is a very powerful additive that helps melt the ice by speeding the process.
Once the clog is removed, it is wise to pump decent volumes of hot water down the drain to thaw the pipes from top to bottom.
Solution # 3
The Space Heater Process
Solutions can involve using a space heater or a heat lamp to fully warm the region and then adding hot water and a mixture of salt into the drain. It will defrost frozen tubing. Keep the heater 8 inches away from the piping or walls to avoid a fire threat. And be sure there are no flame-catching elements nearby.
Combine a few additional items to create a more effective result…
You may combine the remedies described above with the strategies specified below for a more effective thawing effect.
Heating the Tubing
Locate the frozen section of the kitchen sink drain piping. Use your hands to look for the coldest portion of the tubing.
Turn on the hairdryer. Begin from the coldest section to heat the channel. Thaw the tubing until the full flow of water has been returned.
Do not use an open flame to reheat the tubing.
Rising heat levels
To save electricity, people sometimes reduce the temperature of their water source. Some people also keep the indoor temperatures lowered to save on their bills. And in the end, it ends up hurting them in the form of frozen pipes. Increase the intensity of the heat a little more than what you usually do. I am not saying intolerably warm temperatures. I’m speaking normal amounts that are not on the money-saving course. Open to enable the heat to enter unheated areas.
How To Prevent Kitchen Sink Freezing In Future? (A Guide Exclusively for Plumbers)
Freezing of the kitchen sink drain is a big concern (obviously when you reside in cold regions) and even when drains pass into external walls and uninsulated or improperly insulated attics.
To check for uninsulated areas and air leakage, open the field. The wind is a big contributor to frozen pipes, and even a small opening would cause the drainage pipes to freeze with adequate cold air. I can remove all of the old insulation for a successful visual inspection. In such situations, an infrared camera is useful. One thing that people don’t realize is that air penetration is not blocked by fiberglass insulation; air leaks must be avoided for it to work.
I came across a client having a similar dilemma. Air escaped through the enclosed wall area by insulation and the soffit vent, causing the sink drainage pipes in that wall area to freeze.
The right amount of ventilation from the eaves to the ridge vent is ensured by adequate vents. They are usually made of Styrofoam and come in various shapes and sizes. Insulation is put over them after that. Proper vents are designed to allow fresh air through the soffit vent and out of the roof vent to pass up the underside of the roof. A soffit vent allows air to flow through the attic’s sufficient vent. This helps to maintain the attic cool in the summer and motivates the evaporation of moisture. Suitable airflow also tends to maintain shingle existence and eliminate ice jams.
Another challenge that I often face is insulation crammed into spaces. Insulation of fiberglass must stay soft and comfortable. Compressed fiberglass ends up losing its R-value, given that its dead-air room is reduced. Fiberglass insulation won’t deteriorate if properly built.
To solve my problem, I added Styrofoam vents to the soffit vent. And I reinstalled high-density insulation with fiberglass. “Open-cell spray foam” is a safer choice, too (if you can afford it). The isolation bats have to be locked in place. This is why the folds along the edges are located. It is possible to open these folds and pile them onto the wooden surface.
The floor rim joist or the part of the floor joist’s outer wall should be inspected and insulated; air leaks should be investigated for the electrical attachment, dryer vents, and plumbing, and foam insulation or caulk should be used to hold the hot air in and keep the cold air out.
I covered the whole exterior wall and rim-joint areas with 1.5-inch Styrofoam rigid-board insulation after insulating all of these areas to close off air holes and optimize the R-value. To close all board openings, I have used the foil HVAC tape, covering several large holes with expanding foam. This not only warms your unheated wall room, but it also stops the air flood that freezes the drainage pipes and traps of your kitchen’s sink.
A well-conditioned drain pipe normally drains dry and during usage does not freeze. However, in sub-zero conditions, it is normal for a drainpipe to freeze. Because it keeps water in the stream, a blocked drain can freeze. A drain that is not pitched properly will retain water and ice it. A leaking faucet can allow water to cool down and ice down the drain line for many meters. This is one of the things that make me cringe if I hear people suggest holding a leaking faucet to prevent freezing the pipes. In my 10 years of plumbing work, I have come across many occasions where a leaking toilet or a faucet has frozen the primary sewage drain.
The only place the drainage pipe is frozen is the trap under the sink drain, whether you haven’t experienced any of the above freezing cases. The trap is a water-containing T-shaped drainage tube that blocks the intrusion of waste gases into the building. Heating the frozen drain will unclog it. You must search for pipe defects if this does not work and try the solutions I mentioned earlier, but this should work in most cases.