The cold weather brings enough misery, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But in addition to sickness and the bitter cold, it can also come with a specific plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the temperatures drop down below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and enlarge, it can cause anything from a small leak, to a full-fledge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com published that water damage from broken pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the typical claim costing around $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 some tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you notice a water line coated in frost or any swelling within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear indicator that your water pipe is frozen. While it seems 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 filling back up after your flush, that’s also an indication that your pipes might be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
Warning: before you start working to thaw your pipes, shut down your home’s water supply. Once you start to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will melt into water and that water could end up all over your home if the frozen water has been functioning as a plug and preventing water from spilling out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and gathered up a mop, sponges, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, utilize a heat lamp, space heater, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try placing towels that have been saturated in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, propane heater, or kerosene, or anything else with an open flame, as this might cause a fire risk.
If you are not able to locate or access the frozen water pipe, call an expert plumber to visit 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 an expert plumber ASAP. While you are waiting on the plumber to get there, 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 critical, go ahead and reach out to your insurance agent – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that end up with water damage.
Don’t wait until something terrible happens to understand how to shut off your water supply. Take some time now to learn just where your water supply valve is located and how to appropriately shut off the water to your home. A little prep now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.