Fixing Frozen Pipes Before They Burst

February 02, 2017

The cold weather brings enough misery, with cold and flu season, icy temperatures, and the consistent need for deicer. But along with sickness and the nasty cold, it can also usher in a certain plumbing program – frozen pipes.

When the temperatures drop down below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and enlarge, it can cause anything from a tiny leak, to a complete flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com said that water damage from ruptured pipes is one of the most common 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 see a water pipe covered in frost or any swelling within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear 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 obvious. If you turn on the shower and the water isn’t flowing, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t refilling after your flush, that’s also a sign 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, turn off your home’s water supply. Once you start to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will melt into water and that water could end up all over your floors if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and stopping water from escaping out of your pipes.

Once you’ve turned off the water, and got your mop, sponges, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, find a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try packing towels that have been submerged in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, propane heater, or kerosene, or anything else with an open flame, as this could cause a fire risk.

If you are not able to locate or reach the frozen water pipe, call an expert plumber to visit your home 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 professional plumber immediately. As you wait on the plumber to arrive, start mopping 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 reach out to your insurance agent – the majority of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that result in water damage.

Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to learn how to power off your water supply. Take a few minutes now to learn just where your water supply valve is located and how to correctly shut off the water to your home. A little preparation now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.

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