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 bitter cold, it can also usher in a certain 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 minimal leak, to a full-fledge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from broken pipes is one of the most typical homeowners insurance claims, with the typical claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do if 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 see a water pipe covered in frost or any bulges within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear indicator that your water pipe is frozen. While it sounds pretty simple to know if your water lines are frozen, keep in mind not all plumbing pipes are in sight. If you turn on the shower and the water isn’t coming out, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t refilling after your flush, that’s also a sign that your pipes may 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. When you begin to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will melt into water and that water could end up all over your home if the frozen water has been functioning as a plug and prohibiting water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve turned off the water, and gathered up a mop, rags, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, find a hair dryer, space heater, or heat lamp to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try placing towels that have been drenched in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a propane heater, kerosene, or blowtorch, or anything else with an open flame, as this may cause a fire hazard.
If you cannot locate or reach the frozen water pipe, call a licensed plumber to come out 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 wait 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 possibly 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 end up with water damage.
Don’t wait until something terrible happens to learn how to shut off your water supply. Take some time now to learn just where your water supply valve is located and how to appropriately shut off the water to your home. A little preparation now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.