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 awful cold, winter can also bring a specific plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the temperatures drop down below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and enlarge, it can result in anything from a minimal leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the standard claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do in the event you think your pipes might be frozen? Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with a few tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you notice 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, remember not all plumbing pipes are in sight. If you turn on the shower and the water isn’t coming out, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t filling back up after your flush, that’s also a sign 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. As you thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will turn 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 gathered up a mop, towels, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that could possibly come flowing out, find a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try wrapping towels that have been soaked in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or any product with an open flame, as this could 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 – shut off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber ASAP. While you wait 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 you can before it causes damage. If the damage is serious, 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 a pipe bursts to find out how to power off your water supply. Take some time now to learn exactly 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 valuable time during a plumbing emergency.