If it is frigid outside and you turn the faucet on, but no water flows out, there is a very good chance that your pipes have frozen. As a general rule, plumbing pipes will freeze in areas where there is inadequate insulation, such as crawlspaces or attics. The problem with frozen pipes is that they can eventually lead to burst plumbing pipes. However, if you take steps to thaw out your pipes sooner rather than later, you may be able to keep the damage to a minimum. Here are a few ways you can safely thaw out your pipes before damage has a chance to occur.
If you have a heat gun, this tool can thaw out frozen pipes pretty quickly. However, you will need to be careful when using it. This particular tool has the ability to emit heat close to 1,500 degrees. With that being said, it can thaw out your pipes pretty fast. However, that high of heat also has the capability of creating a fire if it comes into contact with certain materials. In addition, in the event that the heat gun comes into direct contact with your plumbing pipe, it could cause the pipe to melt.
You can also soak cloth rags in hot water and rub them on the frozen plumbing pipes. To do this, simply fill up a large bucket with hot water and throw in several rags. Take one rag out at a time, squeeze out any excess water, and start rubbing the rag on the frozen pipe. Once the rag is no longer warm, place the rag into the bucket and grab another one to start all over again. If you have several frozen pipes, you might want to have an extra set of hands or two to help out. While this particular tactic will likely take a little while, your water will start flowing again eventually.
Another tool that can be used to assist in thawing out your plumbing pipes is a household hair dryer. Usually, a hair dryer comes with a heat setting that can quickly dry your hair, and while this heat setting may not thaw out your pipes as quickly as it dries your hair, it will work at a slow pace.
If you are not able to thaw out your pipes quickly enough and they end up bursting, you will need to shut off the water immediately at the main valve. Once you do this, contact a plumber, let them know what has happened, and get them out to your home to perform repairs.