The winter cold brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But along with sickness and the nasty cold, winter can also usher in a specific 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 tiny 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 average claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do in case you think your pipes may be frozen? Stevenson Service Experts is here to with some tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you catch a water pipe covered in frost or any bulges within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it may seem pretty simple 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 flowing, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t refilling after your flush, that’s also an indication that your pipes may be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start working to thaw your pipes, turn off your home’s water supply. Once you start to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will become water and that water could spill out 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 may 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 wrapping towels that have been saturated in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or anything else with an open flame, as this could cause a fire hazard.
If you are not able to locate or reach the frozen water pipe, call an expert plumber to visit your home and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Like we said before, first things first – turn 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, rags, sponges – whatever you have – to soak up as much water as possible 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 shut 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 practice now will save you crucial time during a plumbing emergency.