The winter cold brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the consistent need for deicer. But along with sickness and the bitter cold, winter can also bring a particular 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 create anything from a tiny leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com published that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most usual homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do in the event you think your pipes could be frozen? Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with a few tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you notice 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 may seem pretty simple 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 flowing, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t refilling after your flush, that’s also an indication that your pipes might 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 end up all over your house if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and prohibiting water from spilling out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and got your mop, towels, and anything else you may need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, utilize a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try wrapping towels that have been drenched in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, propane heater, or kerosene, or any product with an open flame, as this might cause a fire hazard.
If you are not able to locate or access 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 – turn off your home’s water supply. Then, call a professional plumber ASAP. As you wait on the plumber to arrive, start mopping up the water with a mop, cloths, sponges – whatever you have – to sop up as much water as possible 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 cause water damage.
Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to find out how to shut 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 precious time during a plumbing emergency.