The winter season brings enough misery, with cold and flu season, icy temperatures, and the consistent need for deicer. But along with sickness and the bitter cold, winter can also come with a certain plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and expand, it can create anything from a small leak, to a complete flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com said that water damage from ruptured pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the standard claim costing around $5000.
So what can you do in case you think your pipes may be frozen? Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts is here to with some 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 sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it may seem pretty simple to know if your water lines are frozen, remember not all plumbing pipes are obvious. If you turn on the shower 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 could be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, shut down your home’s water supply. As you thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will become water and that water could spill out all over your home if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and prohibiting water from leaking out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and gathered up a mop, towels, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that could possibly come flowing out, find a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try placing towels that have been saturated in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, propane heater, or kerosene, or any other item with an open flame, as this may cause a fire risk.
If you can’t locate or reach 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?
Remember, first things first – shut off your home’s water supply. Then, call a professional 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 soak up as much water as you can before it causes damage. If the damage is serious, go ahead and reach out to your insurance agent – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that result in water damage.
Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to find out how to shut 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 valuable time during a plumbing emergency.