The winter cold brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But along with sickness and the nasty cold, it can also bring a particular plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the temperatures drop down below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and swell, it can result in anything from a minimal 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 approximately $5000.
So what can you do in the event you think your pipes may be frozen? Strand Brothers Service Experts is here to with a few tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you catch a water line coated in frost or any swelling within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear indicator that your water pipe is frozen. While it sounds pretty easy to know if your water lines are frozen, remember not all plumbing pipes are obvious. If you turn on the faucet and the water isn’t flowing, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t filling back up after your flush, that’s also an indication that your pipes may be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start working to thaw your pipes, shut down your home’s water supply. As you thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will melt into water and that water could spill out all over your house if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and stopping water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and got your mop, towels, and anything else you may 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 wrapping towels that have been saturated in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or anything else 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 come to your home and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Like we said before, first things first – turn off your home’s water supply. Then, call an expert plumber immediately. While you are waiting on the plumber to arrive, start cleaning up the water with a mop, rags, sponges – whatever you have – to sop up as much water as possible 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 cause water damage.
Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to learn how to power off your water supply. Take a few minutes now to learn just where your water supply valve is located and how to appropriately shut off the water to your home. A little practice now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.