The cold weather brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, icy temperatures, and the consistent need for deicer. But in addition to sickness and the bitter cold, winter can also come with a particular plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and enlarge, it can cause anything from a minimal leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from ruptured pipes is one of the most typical homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes might be frozen? Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with a couple tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you see a water pipe coated in frost or any lumps within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it seems pretty simple to know if your water lines are frozen, keep in mind not all plumbing pipes are in sight. If you turn on the shower and the water isn’t flowing, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t filling back up after your flush, that’s also an indicator that your pipes might be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
First things first: before you start the process of thawing your pipes, shut down your home’s water supply. Once you start to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will melt into water and that water could leak all over your home if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and prohibiting water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and got your mop, towels, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that could possibly come flowing out, use a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try placing towels that have been soaked in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or anything else with an open flame, as this may cause a fire hazard.
If you can’t locate or access the frozen water pipe, call an expert plumber to come out and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Remember, first things first – turn off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber ASAP. While you are waiting on the plumber to arrive, start soaking up the water with a mop, cloths, sponges – whatever you have – to sop up as much water as possible before it causes damage. If the damage is severe, go ahead and contact your insurance agent – the majority of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that end up with water damage.
Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to learn how to power off your water supply. Take some time now to learn just where your water supply valve is located and how to appropriately shut off the water to your home. A little preparation now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.