The winter season brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But along with sickness and the bitter cold, winter can also usher in 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 full-fledge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com published that water damage from ruptured pipes is one of the most typical homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do in case 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 see a water pipe covered in frost or any lumps 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 in sight. If you turn on the faucet 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 could be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start working to thaw your pipes, turn off your home’s water supply. Once you start to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will melt into water and that water could spill out all over your house if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and stopping water from spilling out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut off the water, and got your mop, sponges, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, use a heat lamp, space heater, 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, kerosene or propane heater, or any other item with an open flame, as this might cause a fire risk.
If you are not able to locate or reach the frozen water pipe, call a professional plumber to come out and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Remember, first things first – turn off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber right away. As you wait on the plumber to arrive, start cleaning up the water with a mop, rags, 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 contact your insurance agent – a large number of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that result in water damage.
Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to find out how to power off your water supply. Take a few minutes now to learn exactly 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.