The winter season brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But in addition to sickness and the nasty cold, the cool season can also come with a particular plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the temperatures drop down below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and swell, it can cause anything from a tiny leak, to a full-fledge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com published that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing around $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes may 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 coated in frost or any bulges within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it may seem pretty straightforward 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 won’t refill after your flush, that’s also an indicator that your pipes could be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
First things first: before you start trying to thaw 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 end up all over your house if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and prohibiting water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and gathered up a mop, rags, and anything else you may need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, use a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try placing towels that have been saturated in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or anything else with an open flame, as this could cause a fire risk.
If you cannot locate or access the frozen water pipe, call a professional 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 – shut off your home’s water supply. Then, call an expert plumber right away. While you wait on the plumber to arrive, start soaking up the water with a mop, towels, sponges – whatever you have – to clean up as much water as you can before it causes damage. If the damage is serious, go ahead and contact your insurance agent – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that result in water damage.
Don’t wait until something terrible happens to learn how to turn off your water supply. Take a few minutes now to learn right where your water supply valve is located and exactly how to shut off the water to your home. A little preparation now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.