The winter cold brings enough torment, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the awful cold, it can also usher in a specific plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the weather turns and the temperature dips below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and swell, it can result in anything from a tiny leak, to a complete flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from ruptured pipes is one of the most usual homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing around $5000.
So what can you do in case you think your pipes may be frozen? Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with some tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you catch a water line covered in frost or any swelling within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it seems pretty easy to know if your water lines are frozen, keep in mind not all plumbing pipes are in sight. If you turn on the faucet 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 could be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
First things first: before you start working to thaw your pipes, shut down your home’s water supply. Once you start to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will become water and that water could leak all over your floors if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and preventing water from spilling out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and collected your mop, rags, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, use a heat lamp, space heater, 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 could cause a fire hazard.
If you can’t locate or access the frozen water pipe, call a licensed plumber to visit your home and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Like we said before, first things first – shut off your home’s water supply. Then, call a professional plumber right away. While you wait on the plumber to arrive, start soaking up the water with a mop, rags, sponges – whatever you have – to sop up as much water as you possibly can before it causes damage. If the damage is severe, go ahead and give your insurance agent a call – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that result in water damage.
Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to learn how to shut off your water supply. Take some time now to learn just where your water supply valve is located and exactly how to shut off the water to your home. A little preparation now will save you crucial time during a plumbing emergency.