The winter cold brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the awful cold, the cool season can also come with a particular plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the weather turns and the temperature dips below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and expand, it can result in anything from a small leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com published that water damage from ruptured pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the standard claim costing approximately $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 couple tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you catch a water pipe covered in frost or any bulges 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 visible. If you turn on the shower and the water isn’t coming out, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t refilling after your flush, that’s also an indication that your pipes may be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, turn 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 working as a plug and preventing water from spilling out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut off the water, and gathered up a mop, sponges, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, find 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 could cause a fire danger.
If you are not able to locate or get to the frozen water pipe, call a licensed 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 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 give your insurance agent a call – most 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 how to correctly shut off the water to your home. A little preparation now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.