The winter season brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But along with sickness and the nasty cold, winter can also usher in a particular plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the weather turns and the temperature dips below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and swell, it can cause anything from a small leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from broken pipes is one of the most usual homeowners insurance claims, with the standard claim costing around $5000.
So what can you do in case you think your pipes might be frozen? Stevenson Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with some tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you catch a water pipe covered in frost or any swelling within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it may seem pretty easy to know if your water lines are frozen, just note that not all plumbing pipes are visible. If you turn on the shower and the water isn’t coming out, or not flowing properly, or your toilets won’t refill after your flush, that’s also an indication that your pipes may be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
First things first: before you start working to thaw your pipes, turn off your home’s water supply. As you thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will become water and that water could end up all over your house if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and preventing water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut off the water, and gathered up a mop, rags, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, use a heat lamp, space heater, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try placing towels that have been saturated in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or any product with an open flame, as this may cause a fire risk.
If you are not able to locate or access the frozen water pipe, call an expert plumber to come out and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Like we said before, first things first – shut off your home’s water supply. Then, call an expert plumber right away. As you wait on the plumber to come, start mopping up the water with a mop, towels, sponges – whatever you have – to clean up as much water as you can before it causes damage. If the damage is serious, go ahead and reach out to your insurance agent – a large number of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that end up with water damage.
Don’t wait until something terrible happens to learn how to turn off your water supply. Take a couple minutes now to learn right 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 crucial time during a plumbing emergency.