The cold weather brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, icy temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the awful cold, the cool season can also come with 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 small leak, to a full-fledge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com published that water damage from broken pipes is one of the most typical homeowners insurance claims, with the standard claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes could be frozen? Strogen's 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 may seem pretty straightforward 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 moving, 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?
First things first: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, shut off your home’s water supply. As you thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will turn into water and that water could leak 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 shut off the water, and got your mop, towels, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that could possibly come flowing out, utilize a hair dryer, space heater, or heat lamp to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try packing towels that have been submerged 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 might cause a fire hazard.
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 – power off your home’s water supply. Then, call an expert plumber ASAP. While you are waiting on the plumber to get there, start cleaning up the water with a mop, towels, sponges – whatever you have – to clean up as much water as possible before it causes damage. If the damage is serious, go ahead and contact your insurance agent – the majority of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that result in water damage.
Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to understand how to turn off your water supply. Take a couple minutes now to learn just where your water supply valve is located and exactly how to shut off the water to your home. A little prep now will save you valuable time during a plumbing emergency.