The cold weather brings enough misery, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the bitter cold, winter can also bring a certain plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and swell, it can cause anything from a small leak, to a complete flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com published that water damage from ruptured pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the typical claim costing around $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes may be frozen? Pardee Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with some tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you see a water line covered 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 easy to know if your water lines are frozen, just note that 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 aren’t filling back up after your flush, that’s also a sign that your pipes could be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, shut off your home’s water supply. Once you start to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will become water and that water could end up all over your home if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and preventing water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut off the water, and collected your mop, sponges, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, use a hair dryer, space heater, or heat lamp to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try placing towels that have been soaked 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 could cause a fire risk.
If you can’t 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 – power off your home’s water supply. Then, call a professional plumber right away. While you wait on the plumber to get there, start cleaning 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 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 something terrible happens to understand how to power off your water supply. Take some time now to learn exactly 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 crucial time during a plumbing emergency.