Can A Bathtub Drain Freeze? (Everything You Should Know)

A bathtub drain lets water seep from your shower into the water system. And bathtub drains get obstructed by solid waste sometimes due to poor maintenance.

For example, hair, dirt, soap leftovers, and debris will cause your bathtub to drain slowly or cause a complete blockage.

So, when you notice your bathtub drain is not properly draining without any visible reasons, and you live in a cold area, you will be tempted to ask, can a bathtub drain freeze?

Yes, a bathtub drain can freeze when it holds stagnant water or its ducts are not appropriately insulated. Stagnant water occurs due to a clog of debris or minerals. Also, your bathtub will freeze when exposed to cold weather outside. However, there are a few different ways through which you can unfreeze frozen bathtub drains. 

Can a Bathtub Drain Freeze In Winter?

Can a Bathtub Drain Freeze

Yes, a bathtub drain can freeze in winter. Every season of the year presents its particular issues. And winter comes with a lot of inconveniences, some of which include excessive cold and snow. 

One of the several ways winter impacts your home is by freezing your bathtub drain and other water pipes around your home.

Although the location of a pipe will determine how easily it will freeze. Many factors cause a bathtub drain to freeze during winter.

As such, you must know the best practices to prevent your bathtub drain from freezing before winter.

Ultimately, standing water in your bathtub drain will always cause your bathtub drain to freeze during the cold months of winter. 

And when you stay in an area where the temperature drops to 20°C, you must do everything possible to protect your pipes.

Generally, a bathtub drain will freeze if you leave a pool of stagnant water in the pipes.

Also, when you turn down the heat in your house to save energy, you indirectly leave your bathtub drain vulnerable to becoming frozen. 

And in the long run, you will spend more money on fixing broken pipes when a drain freeze occurs.

Finally, poorly padded bathtub drains are vulnerable to freezing when cold air hits, even on the tiny part of your bathtub drain. 

There is no doubt that one of the most common things homeowners complain about during winter is frozen drain pipes.

While there are ways frozen bathtub drains will get unfrozen, it is advisable to prepare ahead of time.

Unfortunately, most people fail to prepare for winter and always end up with frozen drains and other water pipes in and around the house.

It is best to know that dealing with extensive water damage is quite costly.

Why Does My Bathtub Drain Freeze?

A bathtub drain freezes because there is stagnant water in the trap or anywhere in the pipes.

Drains need adequate padding without harsh weather conditions; when your bathtub drain is not adequately insulated, it will quickly freeze when exposed to cold temperatures.

 Once you discover your bathtub drain is frozen, you must take quick action to remedy the situation because frozen drains quickly lead to excessive home repairs.

Frozen bathtub drains put the whole of your plumbing system in danger because frozen water in pipes creates a lot of pressure and eventually causes pipes to burst.

Frozen water expands and causes distress between the closed faucet and the blockage to the point that causes the pipes to break. 

A broken pipe in the house causes discomfort and domestic accidents when not properly handled. 

Your bathtub drain will not freeze if it is not cold enough because water does not freeze when the temperature is high.

However, when the temperature gets below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, you should consider taking all the necessary precautions. 

Although you will commonly find frozen bathtub drains in typically cold environments, it will be best to note that homes in warmer climates are also prone to frozen pipes, especially those that lack adequate insulation.

A frozen bathtub drain will always be an inconvenient situation to deal with and, when not properly handled, will result in a more severe condition than just a mere water loss.

However, taking suitable preventive measures will never worry about melting frozen bathtub drain pipes or even repairing burst pipes under challenging situations. 

How Do I Know If My Bathtub Drain Is Frozen or Clogged?

A frozen or clogged bathtub drain is a common plumbing problem most people deal with at some point.

Materials such as hair, soap scum, hard water, sand, dirt, and debris are the primary cause of a clogged bathtub drain. 

Knowing whether or not your bathtub drain is clogged or frozen is the first step that will aid you in taking the most appropriate measures to unfreeze or unclog the drain. 

You will need a pipe snake to know if your bathtub drain is frozen or clogged. Run a pipe snake down into the bathtub drain and pull the pipe snack back up to examine the end you shoved into the drain.

You will find hair, dirt, or other debris if your bathtub drain is clogged. Absent debris on the pipe snack will indicate that the bathtub drain is somewhat frozen.

Frozen or clogged bathtub drains are a severe problem, and you must attend to them promptly.

Frozen and clogged bathtubs will cause many issues, including inconsistent water flow, prolonged drainage, and sewer blockage. 

While frozen and clogged bathtub drains are a typical sign of lousy insulation and need skilled repairs, be assured you will be able to unclog your bathtub drain with little or no assistance. 

How Do I Unfreeze My Bathtub Drain?

Frozen bathtub drains are tasking to deal with. Since you don’t have direct access to the pipes beneath, you must try to unfreeze from the bathtub drain itself.

While the bathtub drain freezes, it is best if you know that what freezes is the pipe that links to the drain and not the bathtub drain itself. 

Hence it gets more complicated to unfreeze a bathtub drain than to unfreeze a regular frozen pipe. Also, the position of the freeze plays a crucial role in the unfreezing process.

To unfreeze your bathtub drain, follow the procedure below.

  • Boil 3 gallons of water with a cup of table salt.
  • Pour a cup of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda into the bathtub drain.
  • All the mixture reacted together for some time.
  • Pour the boiled salt water into the drain, unfreezing the ice and clearing the blockage.
  • Finally, turn on the faucet and allow hot water to run down the bathtub drain for a couple of minutes to ensure all the ice meltdown.

It is essential to take quick action once you discover your bathtub is frozen to avoid dealing with more expenses in case of exploded pipes.

However, if you try unfreezing a bathtub drain that is frozen and it fails since the freezing point will determine your level of stretch, do not hesitate to call on a professional plumber to come and attend to the issue.

Once your bathtub drain pipes explode, there are certain precautions you must take to ensure safety.

The table below contains some do’s and don’ts when your pipe burst.

Do’s Don’ts
Open all windows and use a dehumidifier or fan to speed up the drying process.Do not remove any carpeting.
Mop up excess water to prevent further damage.Do not apply heat to the affected areas, as it could cause more damage.
Turn off the source of water immediately.Do not use bleach or other cleaning products on the affected area.
Call the home plumbing company.Do not fix the pipe yourself if you are not trained by a professional.

How Long Does It Take for Drain Pipes to Unfreeze Naturally?

When drain pipes are frozen, you can decide to wait for the pipes to unfreeze naturally or find a way to unfreeze the pipes yourself.

Naturally, frozen pipes will take either hours or days to unfreeze, depending on the temperature.

 While waiting on the pipes to unfreeze naturally is an option, you must bear in mind that the longer the pipes stay frozen, the higher the chances that your drain pipes will burst.

Typically, most do-it-yourself procedures get your drain pipes unfrozen within 30 to 40 minutes.

Frozen pipes will unfreeze on their own once the temperature rises above the freezing point, but even at that, some drain pipes located underground will not unfreeze even when there is a temperature rise. 

Regardless, it will be best if you do not wait on your frozen drain pipes to unfreeze naturally.

When the temperature hits 20 degrees Fahrenheit, the water becomes solid in the pipes and exerts an extremely high pressure.

Therefore, allowing your frozen pipes to unfreeze on their own will eventually cause water damage, resulting in structural and property damage.

 Also, such environments facilitate the growth of molds in homes, therefore putting your health at risk, not to mention the expenses of repairing your plumbing system.

Will Pouring Hot Water Unfreeze My Frozen Drain?

Yes, in most cases, you will be able to unfreeze a frozen drain by pouring hot water down the drain.

However, it is vital to ensure that you boil the water moderately to avoid damaging your drain pipes.

After running hot water down the drain, once the drain starts running again, free warm water from the faucet to run for some time to clear the drain from the ice completely.

When unfreezing frozen drains with hot water, you must be extremely careful. Since pipes are of different materials, their heat conductivity also varies.

Also, boiling water can spit back up the pipe depending on the point of blockage. Therefore, it is best to take preventive measures against freezing than to deal with frozen drains. 

Some other measures include the following.

  • Keep your home’s temperature consistent.
  • Make sure you install pipe insulators. It would be best if you padded your bathtub.
  • Open up the doors underneath the enclosed bathroom pipes.
  • Keep your garage door closed.
  • Keep your heat on even when you are away.


Bathtub drains are frozen when you allow them to keep a pool of standing water when the temperature hits freezing.

Also, poorly insulated tub drains will freeze when the weather is cold.

Although there are simple procedures through which bathtub drains can easily be unfrozen, it would be best to protect against bathtub drain freezing, as they lead to serious plumbing issues.

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