The winter season brings enough misery, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the consistent need for deicer. But along with sickness and the bitter cold, winter can also come with a certain plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the temperatures drop down below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and enlarge, it can cause anything from a minimal leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com said that water damage from ruptured pipes is one of the most typical homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing approximately $5000.
So what can you do in the event you think your pipes may be frozen? Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with a few tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you catch a water pipe coated in frost or any lumps within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear indicator 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 moving, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t filling back up after your flush, that’s also an indicator that your pipes could be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
Warning: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, turn off your home’s water supply. When you begin to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will melt into water and that water could leak all over your house if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and prohibiting water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and got your mop, sponges, 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 placing 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 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?
Like we said before, first things first – shut off your home’s water supply. Then, call an expert plumber immediately. While you are waiting on the plumber to arrive, start soaking up the water with a mop, cloths, sponges – whatever you have – to soak up as much water as possible before it causes damage. If the damage is severe, go ahead and contact your insurance agent – the majority of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that end up with water damage.
Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to understand how to power 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 practice now will save you crucial time during a plumbing emergency.