The winter season brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the awful cold, it can also come with a certain plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and expand, it can result in 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 average claim costing approximately $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 catch a water line coated in frost or any lumps within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it sounds pretty simple to know if your water lines are frozen, remember not all plumbing pipes are obvious. If you turn on the faucet and the water isn’t flowing, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t refilling after your flush, that’s also an indication that your pipes might be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
First things first: before you start working to thaw your pipes, shut down your home’s water supply. As you thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will become water and that water could leak all over your home if the frozen water has been functioning as a plug and preventing water from spilling out of your pipes.
Once you’ve turned off the water, and gathered up a mop, sponges, and anything else you may need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, utilize a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try wrapping towels that have been saturated in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or any other item with an open flame, as this may cause a fire risk.
If you cannot locate or get to the frozen water pipe, call a professional plumber to come out and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Like we said before, first things first – power off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber ASAP. While you are waiting on the plumber to get there, start mopping up the water with a mop, towels, sponges – whatever you have – to soak up as much water as you possibly can before it causes damage. If the damage is critical, go ahead and give your insurance agent a call – a large number of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.
Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to understand 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 correctly shut off the water to your home. A little prep now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.