The winter cold brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the consistent need for deicer. But in addition to sickness and the bitter cold, it can also bring 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 small leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from broken pipes is one of the most usual homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes may 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 line coated in frost or any swelling within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it seems pretty straightforward to know if your water lines are frozen, just note that 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 filling back up after your flush, that’s also an indication that your pipes may 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. As you thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will melt into water and that water could leak all over your floors if the frozen water has been working as a plug and preventing water from leaking out of your pipes.
Once you’ve turned off the water, and collected your mop, rags, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, find a heat lamp, space heater, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try wrapping towels that have been soaked in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a propane heater, kerosene, or blowtorch, or anything else with an open flame, as this might cause a fire hazard.
If you can’t locate or get to the frozen water pipe, call an expert plumber to come out and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Remember, first things first – power off your home’s water supply. Then, call an expert plumber ASAP. As you wait on the plumber to arrive, start soaking up the water with a mop, cloths, sponges – whatever you have – to clean up as much water as you possibly can before it causes damage. If the damage is critical, go ahead and contact your insurance agent – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that result in water damage.
Don’t wait until something terrible happens to find out how to shut off your water supply. Take some time now to learn just where your water supply valve is located and how to correctly shut off the water to your home. A little practice now will save you valuable time during a plumbing emergency.