One very neat trick I learned a year ago, and it came in handy this weekend, is to get one of those clamp-on heat lamps. Our feed store sells them as brooder lamps but they’re readily available at hardware stores as well. Typically 250w, either clear or red but the red seems “hotter” to me. Anyway, I use those to thaw out frozen pipes. I clamp the light about 3″ away from the pipe in question. If the pipe is insulated, I peel away the insulation about 6″ on either side of the centerpoint of where the light is aiming, so that the heat doesn’t melt the insulation. I also took the cardboard core from a paper towel roll, and cut that lengthwise (to open it up and make a long channel) and then lined the channel with aluminum foil. By putting that behind the pipe in question, a lot of additional heat from the lamp is collected and reflected back to the pipe. Cuts thaw-out time by about 2/3, such that it takes about 90min to thaw an approx 24″ run of standard domestic water supply in copper pipe. We were able to thaw out a 6′ run of frozen pipe this weekend, thus bringing our bathroom sink and toilet back into operation (whew!). Would have gone faster if I’d used that foil reflector earlier in the process. Hopefully that little hint will help someone avoid a plumber’s bill down the road..