The winter cold brings enough torment, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the bitter cold, it can also come with a specific plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and enlarge, it can create anything from a minimal leak, to a full-fledge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com said that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most usual homeowners insurance claims, with the standard claim costing around $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes might be frozen? Fras-Air/General Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with a couple 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 easy to know if your water lines are frozen, remember not all plumbing pipes are obvious. If you turn on the faucet and the water isn’t coming out, or not flowing properly, or your toilets won’t refill after your flush, that’s also a sign that your pipes could be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
Warning: before you start working to thaw your pipes, shut off your home’s water supply. When you begin to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will become water and that water could spill out all over your floors if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and stopping water from leaking out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and gathered up a mop, sponges, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that could possibly 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 saturated 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 could cause a fire hazard.
If you cannot locate or reach the frozen water pipe, call a licensed plumber to come out and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
As we said, first things first – shut off your home’s water supply. Then, call a professional plumber right away. While you are waiting on the plumber to arrive, start soaking 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 – the majority of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that result in water damage.
Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to understand how to turn off your water supply. Take a couple minutes now to learn just where your water supply valve is located and how to appropriately shut off the water to your home. A little practice now will save you crucial time during a plumbing emergency.