The winter cold brings enough misery, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But in addition to sickness and the nasty cold, it can also usher in a specific plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and swell, it can create anything from a minimal leak, to a complete flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com said that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do in the event 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 see a water pipe coated in frost or any bulges within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear indicator that your water pipe is frozen. While it may seem pretty simple to know if your water lines are frozen, just note that not all plumbing pipes are visible. If you turn on the shower 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 indicator that your pipes may 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 become water and that water could spill out all over your home if the frozen water has been functioning as a plug and stopping water from spilling out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and got your mop, towels, 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 wrapping towels that have been drenched 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 may cause a fire hazard.
If you are not able to locate or reach the frozen water pipe, call a licensed plumber to come to your home and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Like we said before, first things first – power off your home’s water supply. Then, call an expert plumber right away. As you wait on the plumber to arrive, start cleaning up the water with a mop, cloths, sponges – whatever you have – to clean up as much water as possible before it causes damage. If the damage is serious, go ahead and give your insurance agent a call – the majority of 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 some time now to learn exactly 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 valuable time during a plumbing emergency.