The winter season brings enough misery, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the bitter cold, it can also bring a particular 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 complete 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 about $5000.
So what can you do in the event you think your pipes might be frozen? Fras-Air/General Service Experts is here to with a couple tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you notice 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, keep in mind not all plumbing pipes are visible. If you turn on the faucet and the water isn’t coming out, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t refilling after your flush, that’s also a sign that your pipes may be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
Warning: before you start working to thaw your pipes, turn 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 home if the frozen water has been working as a plug and preventing water from leaking out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and gathered up a mop, towels, 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 anything else with an open flame, as this could cause a fire risk.
If you cannot locate or access 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 licensed plumber right away. While you wait on the plumber to come, 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 serious, 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 understand how to shut 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 preparation now will save you crucial time during a plumbing emergency.