The winter cold brings enough misery, with cold and flu season, icy temperatures, and the consistent need for deicer. But along with sickness and the awful cold, it can also usher in a specific plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the temperatures drop down below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and expand, it can cause anything from a small leak, to a complete flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com said that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the typical claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes may be frozen? Eveready Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with some tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you see a water pipe covered in frost or any lumps within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it seems pretty straightforward to know if your water lines are frozen, keep in mind not all plumbing pipes are obvious. If you turn on the shower and the water isn’t flowing, or not flowing properly, or your toilets won’t refill after your flush, that’s also an indicator that your pipes could be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start working to thaw your pipes, shut off your home’s water supply. Once you start 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 acting as a plug and prohibiting water from spilling out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and got your mop, towels, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, find a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try wrapping towels that have been drenched in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, propane heater, or kerosene, or any product with an open flame, as this may cause a fire risk.
If you are not able to locate or get to the frozen water pipe, call an expert plumber to visit your home and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
As we said, first things first – power off your home’s water supply. Then, call a professional plumber right away. While you wait on the plumber to get there, start mopping up the water with a mop, cloths, sponges – whatever you have – to soak up as much water as you can before it causes damage. If the damage is critical, go ahead and contact your insurance agent – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.
Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to learn how to power off your water supply. Take a few minutes now to learn just where your water supply valve is located and exactly how to shut off the water to your home. A little preparation now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.