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, winter 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 result in 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 typical homeowners insurance claims, with the standard 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 notice 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 sounds pretty easy to know if your water lines are frozen, remember 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 won’t refill after your flush, that’s also an indicator that your pipes may be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: 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 home if the frozen water has been working as a plug and stopping water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve turned off the water, and got your mop, towels, and anything else you could 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 packing towels that have been saturated in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, propane heater, or kerosene, or any product with an open flame, as this may cause a fire hazard.
If you are not able to locate or reach 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 right away. As you wait on the plumber to arrive, start cleaning 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 reach out to your insurance agent – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.
Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to find out how to power off your water supply. Take a few minutes now to learn just where your water supply valve is located and exactly how to shut off the water to your home. A little practice now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.