The winter cold brings enough torment, with cold and flu season, icy temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But in addition to sickness and the bitter cold, the cool season can also usher in a specific plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the temperatures drop down below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and swell, it can create anything from a tiny leak, to a complete flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from ruptured pipes is one of the most typical homeowners insurance claims, with the standard claim costing approximately $5000.
So what can you do in the event you think your pipes might 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 line covered in frost or any lumps within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it may seem pretty easy to know if your water lines are frozen, just note that 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?
Warning: before you start the process of thawing your pipes, turn off 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 home if the frozen water has been functioning as a plug and prohibiting water from spilling out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and got your mop, sponges, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, utilize a heat lamp, space heater, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try packing towels that have been submerged in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a propane heater, kerosene, or blowtorch, or any other item with an open flame, as this may cause a fire danger.
If you are not able to locate or get to the frozen water pipe, call a licensed plumber to visit your home 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 a professional plumber immediately. As you wait on the plumber to arrive, start cleaning up the water with a mop, towels, 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 – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that end up with water damage.
Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to understand how to power 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 prep now will save you crucial time during a plumbing emergency.