Fixing Frozen Pipes Before They Burst

February 02, 2017

The winter cold brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the bitter cold, the cool season can also come with 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 small 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 approximately $5000.

So what can you do if you think your pipes may be frozen? Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with a few tips.

How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe

If you catch 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, remember not all plumbing pipes are obvious. If you turn on the shower and the water isn’t coming out, or not flowing properly, or your toilets won’t refill after your flush, that’s also an indication that your pipes could be frozen.

So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?

First things first: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, shut off your home’s water supply. When you begin to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will become water and that water could leak all over your home if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and stopping water from leaking out of your pipes.

Once you’ve turned off the water, and got your mop, towels, and anything else you may need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, use a hair dryer, space heater, or heat lamp 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, kerosene or propane heater, or anything else with an open flame, as this may cause a fire danger.

If you can’t locate or get to the frozen water pipe, call a licensed 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 professional plumber right away. As you wait on the plumber to come, start cleaning up the water with a mop, cloths, sponges – whatever you have – to sop up as much water as you possibly 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 an emergency occurs to find out how to power off your water supply. Take a few minutes now to learn right 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 valuable time during a plumbing emergency.

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