The cold weather brings enough torment, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the awful cold, it can also come with a particular plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and swell, it can cause anything from a tiny leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from broken pipes is one of the most typical homeowners insurance claims, with the typical claim costing around $5000.
So what can you do in case you think your pipes might be frozen? Roland J. Down 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 sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it may seem pretty straightforward to know if your water lines are frozen, keep in mind 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 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 the process of thawing your pipes, shut down 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 working as a plug and stopping water from spilling out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and gathered up a mop, towels, 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 wrapping 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 could cause a fire risk.
If you are not able to locate or get to the frozen water pipe, call a licensed plumber to come out 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 an expert plumber ASAP. As you wait on the plumber to arrive, start cleaning up the water with a mop, cloths, sponges – whatever you have – to clean up as much water as you can before it causes damage. If the damage is critical, go ahead and give your insurance agent a call – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that end up with water damage.
Don’t wait until a pipe bursts 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 prep now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.