The cold weather brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, icy temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the awful cold, the cool season can also bring a specific 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 reported that water damage from broken pipes is one of the most typical homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing around $5000.
So what can you do in the event you think your pipes could be frozen? Strogen's Service Experts 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 obvious. 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 may be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, turn off your home’s water supply. As you thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will melt into water and that water could leak all over your home if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and stopping water from leaking 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 propane heater, kerosene, or blowtorch, or any other item with an open flame, as this might cause a fire risk.
If you can’t 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 mopping 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 serious, go ahead and give your insurance agent a call – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that result in water damage.
Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to understand how to shut off your water supply. Take a couple minutes now to learn exactly where your water supply valve is located and how to correctly shut off the water to your home. A little prep now will save you valuable time during a plumbing emergency.