The cold weather brings enough misery, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the nasty cold, winter can also usher in a certain plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the weather turns and the temperature dips below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and expand, it can cause anything from a minimal leak, to a complete flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com published that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most usual homeowners insurance claims, with the typical claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes might be frozen? Chief / Bauer Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with some tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you catch a water pipe coated in frost or any bulges within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear indicator that your water pipe is frozen. While it may seem pretty straightforward 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 filling back up after your flush, that’s also a sign that your pipes may be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, shut down your home’s water supply. When you begin to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will melt into water and that water could leak all over your house if the frozen water has been functioning as a plug and prohibiting water from leaking out of your pipes.
Once you’ve turned off the water, and collected your mop, towels, and anything else you may need to clean up the water that could possibly come flowing out, use a hair dryer, space heater, or heat lamp to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try packing towels that have been soaked in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or any other item with an open flame, as this could cause a fire risk.
If you cannot 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?
Remember, first things first – shut off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber ASAP. While you are waiting on the plumber to come, start mopping up the water with a mop, cloths, sponges – whatever you have – to clean up as much water as possible before it causes damage. If the damage is serious, go ahead and give your insurance agent a call – the majority of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that end up with water damage.
Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to learn how to shut off your water supply. Take a few minutes now to learn right 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.