The winter season brings enough torment, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But on top of 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 enlarge, it can cause anything from a tiny leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from ruptured pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing approximately $5000.
So what can you do in the event 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 catch a water line coated in frost or any swelling within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it seems pretty simple to know if your water lines are frozen, keep in mind not all plumbing pipes are obvious. If you turn on the sink and the water isn’t moving, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t filling back up after your flush, that’s also an indication that your pipes could be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, turn off your home’s water supply. As you thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will turn into water and that water could spill out all over your house if the frozen water has been functioning as a plug and stopping water from leaking out of your pipes.
Once you’ve turned off the water, and gathered up a mop, sponges, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, utilize a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try wrapping towels that have been soaked in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, propane heater, or kerosene, or any other item with an open flame, as this might cause a fire danger.
If you can’t locate or access the frozen water pipe, call an expert plumber to visit your home and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Remember, first things first – turn off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber right away. While you wait on the plumber to come, start mopping up the water with a mop, cloths, sponges – whatever you have – to clean up as much water as you possibly can before it causes damage. If the damage is severe, go ahead and contact your insurance agent – the majority of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that result in water damage.
Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to find out how to shut off your water supply. Take a few minutes 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 precious time during a plumbing emergency.