The cold weather brings enough misery, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But along with sickness and the bitter cold, it can also usher in a particular plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the temperatures drop down below freezing 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 approximately $5000.
So what can you do in the event you think your pipes might be frozen? Peitz Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with some tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you catch a water line covered in frost or any lumps within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear indicator that your water pipe is frozen. While it sounds pretty simple to know if your water lines are frozen, just note that 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 might be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
First things first: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, turn off your home’s water supply. When you begin to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will turn into water and that water could spill out all over your floors 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, rags, and anything else you may 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 wrapping towels that have been saturated in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, propane heater, or kerosene, or any product with an open flame, as this could cause a fire risk.
If you are not able to locate or access the frozen water pipe, call a professional plumber to visit your home and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
As we said, first things first – turn off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber ASAP. As you wait on the plumber to get there, start cleaning 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 – a large number of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.
Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to understand how to power off your water supply. Take a few minutes now to learn exactly 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.