The winter cold brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But in addition to sickness and the awful cold, it can also usher in a particular plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and swell, it can result in 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 common 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 notice 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 sounds 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 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?
NOTE: before you start working to thaw your pipes, shut off your home’s water supply. As you thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will melt into water and that water could end up all over your house if the frozen water has been working as a plug and stopping water from spilling out of your pipes.
Once you’ve turned off 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, find 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 hazard.
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 – shut off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber immediately. As you wait on the plumber to arrive, start cleaning up the water with a mop, rags, sponges – whatever you have – to soak up as much water as you possibly can before it causes damage. If the damage is serious, 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 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 correctly shut off the water to your home. A little practice now will save you valuable time during a plumbing emergency.