The winter cold brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the consistent need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the bitter cold, winter can also come with a specific plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the weather turns and the temperature dips below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and enlarge, it can cause anything from a tiny leak, to a full-fledge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from ruptured pipes is one of the most usual homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes might be frozen? Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with some tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you notice a water pipe coated in frost or any swelling within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it seems pretty easy to know if your water lines are frozen, keep in mind 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 refilling after your flush, that’s also a sign that your pipes could 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. When you begin to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will turn into water and that water could leak all over your floors if the frozen water has been functioning as a plug and preventing water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve turned off the water, and gathered up a mop, towels, and anything else you may need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, utilize a heat lamp, space heater, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try placing towels that have been submerged 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 could cause a fire danger.
If you are not able to locate or get to 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 an expert plumber ASAP. As you wait on the plumber to get there, start mopping up the water with a mop, towels, sponges – whatever you have – to sop up as much water as you 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 something terrible happens to understand how to power off your water supply. Take some time 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 valuable time during a plumbing emergency.