The winter cold brings enough torment, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the nasty cold, it can also bring a specific 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 minimal leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most usual homeowners insurance claims, with the standard claim costing approximately $5000.
So what can you do in the event you think your pipes could be frozen? Roy Inch & Sons Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with a couple tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you catch a water line covered in frost or any bulges 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, remember not all plumbing pipes are visible. If you turn on the faucet 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 an indication 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 end up all over your house if the frozen water has been functioning as a plug and prohibiting water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and collected your mop, towels, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that could possibly come flowing out, use a hair dryer, space heater, or heat lamp to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try placing towels that have been submerged in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a propane heater, kerosene, or blowtorch, or any product with an open flame, as this may cause a fire hazard.
If you are not able to locate or reach the frozen water pipe, call a professional 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 an expert plumber ASAP. While you are waiting on the plumber to come, start soaking 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 critical, go ahead and contact your insurance agent – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.
Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to learn 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 correctly shut off the water to your home. A little preparation now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.