The winter cold brings enough torment, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the bitter cold, it can also usher in a particular 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 typical homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing about $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 pipe coated in frost or any swelling within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it may seem pretty simple to know if your water lines are frozen, remember not all plumbing pipes are visible. If you turn on the faucet 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 working to thaw your pipes, shut off your home’s water supply. As you 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 leaking 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 space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try wrapping towels that have been saturated in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, 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?
Like we said before, first things first – power off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber immediately. While you are waiting 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 possible before it causes damage. If the damage is severe, go ahead and contact your insurance agent – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.
Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to learn how to shut off your water supply. Take a few minutes 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.