The cold weather brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the consistent need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the nasty cold, winter 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 enlarge, it can result in anything from a small leak, to a complete flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from ruptured pipes is one of the most usual 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 some tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you notice a water line covered in frost or any lumps within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear 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 in sight. If you turn on the sink 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?
First things first: 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 end up all over your floors if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and preventing water from leaking out of your pipes.
Once you’ve turned off the water, and collected your mop, sponges, and anything else you could 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 packing towels that have been soaked 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 hazard.
If you can’t locate or get to 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?
As we said, first things first – power off your home’s water supply. Then, call an expert plumber ASAP. While you wait on the plumber to get there, start soaking up the water with a mop, towels, sponges – whatever you have – to clean up as much water as you possibly can before it causes damage. If the damage is critical, go ahead and reach out to your insurance agent – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.
Don’t wait until something terrible happens to learn how to power off your water supply. Take a few minutes now to learn just where your water supply valve is located and how to appropriately shut off the water to your home. A little prep now will save you crucial time during a plumbing emergency.