The winter cold brings enough misery, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the awful cold, winter can also usher in a specific plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the temperatures drop down below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and expand, it can cause anything from a tiny leak, to a complete flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com published that water damage from broken pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the standard claim costing around $5000.
So what can you do in case you think your pipes might 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 line coated in frost or any bulges within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it may seem pretty easy to know if your water lines are frozen, remember not all plumbing pipes are visible. If you turn on the sink and the water isn’t flowing, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t refilling 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 working to thaw your pipes, shut off your home’s water supply. Once you start to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will become water and that water could spill out all over your floors if the frozen water has been functioning as a plug and prohibiting water from spilling out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and gathered up a mop, rags, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that could possibly come flowing out, find a heat lamp, space heater, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try placing towels that have been submerged in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a propane heater, kerosene, or blowtorch, or any product with an open flame, as this may cause a fire danger.
If you are not able to locate or get to the frozen water pipe, call an expert plumber to come to your home and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
As we said, first things first – power off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber immediately. While you wait on the plumber to come, start soaking up the water with a mop, cloths, sponges – whatever you have – to clean 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 – the majority of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that result in water damage.
Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to find out how to turn off your water supply. Take some time now to learn just where your water supply valve is located and exactly how to shut off the water to your home. A little prep now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.