The winter cold brings enough torment, with cold and flu season, icy temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the awful cold, winter can also bring a particular plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and swell, it can create anything from a tiny leak, to a full-fledge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most usual homeowners insurance claims, with the standard claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do if 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 bulges within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear 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 in sight. If you turn on the faucet and the water isn’t moving, or not flowing properly, or your toilets won’t refill after your flush, that’s also an indicator 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 down your home’s water supply. Once you start to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will turn into water and that water could leak all over your floors if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and preventing water from spilling out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and gathered up a mop, rags, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, find a space heater, heat lamp, 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 could 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?
Like we said before, first things first – turn off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber immediately. While you wait on the plumber to come, start cleaning up the water with a mop, towels, sponges – whatever you have – to clean up as much water as you possibly can before it causes damage. If the damage is severe, go ahead and reach out to your insurance agent – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that result in water damage.
Don’t wait until something terrible happens to learn how to power off your water supply. Take a few minutes now to learn just where your water supply valve is located and how to appropriately shut off the water to your home. A little practice now will save you crucial time during a plumbing emergency.