The cold weather brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But along with sickness and the bitter cold, winter can also usher in a particular plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and swell, it can result in 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 about $5000.
So what can you do in case you think your pipes might be frozen? Wesley Wood Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with a few tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you notice a water line covered in frost or any bulges within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it may seem pretty straightforward to know if your water lines are frozen, remember 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 filling back up after your flush, that’s also an indication that your pipes may be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
Warning: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, shut off your home’s water supply. When you begin to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will melt into water and that water could spill out all over your house if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and preventing water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and got your mop, sponges, and anything else you may need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, find a heat lamp, space heater, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try placing towels that have been saturated in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or any product with an open flame, as this might cause a fire hazard.
If you can’t 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?
Like we said before, first things first – turn off your home’s water supply. Then, call a professional plumber right away. As you wait on the plumber to come, start cleaning up the water with a mop, towels, 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 give your insurance agent a call – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.
Don’t wait until something terrible happens to learn how to shut off your water supply. Take a couple minutes now to learn right 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.