The cold weather brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, icy temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the awful cold, it can also usher in a specific plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the weather turns and the temperature dips below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and swell, it can create anything from a minimal leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com said that water damage from broken pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing around $5000.
So what can you do in case you think your pipes might be frozen? Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with a few tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you notice a water line covered in frost or any swelling 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 visible. If you turn on the shower 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 might be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, shut off your home’s water supply. Once you start to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will melt into water and that water could leak all over your floors if the frozen water has been functioning as a plug and stopping water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut off the water, and collected your mop, sponges, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, utilize a hair dryer, space heater, or heat lamp 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 product with an open flame, as this may cause a fire hazard.
If you are not able to locate or get to the frozen water pipe, call an expert plumber to visit your home and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
As we said, first things first – turn off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber ASAP. While you are waiting on the plumber to arrive, start cleaning up the water with a mop, rags, sponges – whatever you have – to sop up as much water as you can before it causes damage. If the damage is severe, go ahead and reach out to your insurance agent – a large number of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.
Don’t wait until something terrible happens to learn how to turn off your water supply. Take some time now to learn exactly 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 crucial time during a plumbing emergency.