The winter season brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the consistent need for deicer. But in addition to sickness and the nasty cold, winter can also usher in a certain plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and expand, it can result in anything from a small leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com said that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most usual homeowners insurance claims, with the typical claim costing around $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes may be frozen? Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with a couple tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you catch a water line coated in frost or any swelling within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear sign 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 in sight. If you turn on the sink and the water isn’t coming out, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t filling back up after your flush, that’s also a sign that your pipes may be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start the process of thawing your pipes, shut off your home’s water supply. When you begin to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will melt into water and that water could spill out all over your home if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and preventing water from spilling out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut off the water, and gathered up a mop, rags, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, use a hair dryer, space heater, or heat lamp to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try packing towels that have been drenched in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or any other item with an open flame, as this could cause a fire hazard.
If you are not able to locate or get to the frozen water pipe, call a licensed plumber to come out and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Remember, first things first – shut off your home’s water supply. Then, call a professional plumber ASAP. While you wait on the plumber to arrive, start soaking up the water with a mop, rags, sponges – whatever you have – to soak up as much water as you can before it causes damage. If the damage is critical, go ahead and give your insurance agent a call – a large number of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that result in water damage.
Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to understand how to shut off your water supply. Take a few minutes now to learn right where your water supply valve is located and how to correctly shut off the water to your home. A little preparation now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.