The winter cold brings enough misery, 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 usher in a certain 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 tiny leak, to a full-fledge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com said that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the typical claim costing around $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes could be frozen? Neal Harris Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is here to with some tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you see a water pipe coated in frost or any swelling within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it seems pretty easy to know if your water lines are frozen, just note that not all plumbing pipes are in sight. If you turn on the faucet and the water isn’t coming out, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t refilling 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 become water and that water could spill out all over your floors if the frozen water has been working as a plug and stopping water from leaking out of your pipes.
Once you’ve turned off the water, and got your mop, rags, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, find a heat lamp, space heater, or hair dryer 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 product with an open flame, as this might cause a fire danger.
If you are not able to locate or access the frozen water pipe, call an expert plumber to come to your home and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Like we said before, first things first – power off your home’s water supply. Then, call a professional plumber immediately. While you wait on the plumber to come, start mopping up the water with a mop, rags, sponges – whatever you have – to clean up as much water as you possibly can 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 cause water damage.
Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to learn 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 prep now will save you valuable time during a plumbing emergency.