The winter cold brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, icy temperatures, and the consistent need for deicer. But along with sickness and the nasty cold, winter can also usher in a certain plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the temperatures drop down below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and enlarge, it can result in 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 common homeowners insurance claims, with the standard claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do in the event you think your pipes might be frozen? Sunbeam Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with a couple tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you catch a water pipe coated in frost or any bulges within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it sounds pretty straightforward to know if your water lines are frozen, remember not all plumbing pipes are in sight. If you turn on the faucet 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 indicator that your pipes might 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 turn into water and that water could leak all over your house if the frozen water has been working as a plug and stopping water from spilling out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and collected your mop, rags, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, utilize a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try packing towels that have been drenched in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, propane heater, or kerosene, or anything else with an open flame, as this may cause a fire risk.
If you can’t locate or access the frozen water pipe, call a professional plumber to visit your home and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Remember, first things first – shut off your home’s water supply. Then, call a professional plumber ASAP. While you are waiting on the plumber to get there, start soaking 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 give your insurance agent a call – a large number of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that end up with water damage.
Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to understand 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 practice now will save you crucial time during a plumbing emergency.