The winter cold brings enough torment, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the nasty cold, it can also bring a particular plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the weather turns and the temperature dips below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and expand, it can create anything from a small leak, to a full-fledge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most usual homeowners insurance claims, with the typical claim costing approximately $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes could be frozen? Becht/Givens Service Experts is here to with a few tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you notice a water line covered in frost or any swelling within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear sign 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 sink and the water isn’t flowing, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t refilling after your flush, that’s also an indicator that your pipes may be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start the process of thawing 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 spill out all over your house if the frozen water has been functioning as a plug and stopping water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve turned off the water, and collected your mop, rags, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, find 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, kerosene or propane heater, or anything else with an open flame, as this could cause a fire hazard.
If you cannot locate or get to 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?
As we said, first things first – turn off your home’s water supply. Then, call a professional plumber immediately. While you are waiting on the plumber to get there, start mopping up the water with a mop, cloths, sponges – whatever you have – to sop up as much water as you can before it causes damage. If the damage is critical, go ahead and contact your insurance agent – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.
Don’t wait until something terrible happens to find out how to turn off your water supply. Take a few minutes now to learn just 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 precious time during a plumbing emergency.