The winter cold brings enough torment, with cold and flu season, icy temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But along with sickness and the bitter cold, it can also come with a certain 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 cause anything from a minimal leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com published that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do in the event 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 coated in frost or any bulges within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it may seem 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 shower and the water isn’t moving, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t filling back up after your flush, that’s also a sign that your pipes may be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, shut down your home’s water supply. As you thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will turn into water and that water could spill out all over your floors if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and prohibiting water from leaking out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut off the water, and got your mop, towels, and anything else you may need to clean up the water that could possibly 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 any other item with an open flame, as this might cause a fire danger.
If you cannot locate or get to the frozen water pipe, call a licensed plumber to come to 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 immediately. As you wait on the plumber to get there, start cleaning up the water with a mop, towels, sponges – whatever you have – to soak up as much water as you can before it causes damage. If the damage is serious, go ahead and give your insurance agent a call – a large number of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.
Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to learn how to turn off your water supply. Take some time now to learn exactly where your water supply valve is located and how to correctly shut off the water to your home. A little prep now will save you valuable time during a plumbing emergency.