The winter cold brings enough torment, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But in addition to sickness and the nasty cold, the cool season can also come with a particular plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and expand, it can create anything from a minimal leak, to a complete flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from broken pipes is one of the most typical homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing approximately $5000.
So what can you do in case you think your pipes could be frozen? Service Experts Commercial HVAC is here to with a couple 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 simple to know if your water lines are frozen, keep in mind not all plumbing pipes are in sight. If you turn on the sink and the water isn’t coming out, or not flowing properly, or your toilets won’t refill after your flush, that’s also an indicator that your pipes might be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
First things first: 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 home if the frozen water has been working as a plug and stopping water from spilling out of your pipes.
Once you’ve turned off the water, and got your mop, towels, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, use a heat lamp, space heater, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try wrapping towels that have been submerged in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a propane heater, kerosene, or blowtorch, or any product with an open flame, as this might cause a fire hazard.
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 – turn off your home’s water supply. Then, call a professional plumber immediately. While you wait on the plumber to come, 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 serious, go ahead and give your insurance agent a call – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that end up with water damage.
Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to understand how to power off your water supply. Take a couple minutes now to learn just where your water supply valve is located and how to correctly shut off the water to your home. A little practice now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.