The winter cold brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But along with sickness and the bitter cold, winter can also usher in a specific plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and expand, it can cause anything from a small leak, to a full-fledge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com said that water damage from broken pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the standard claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes might be frozen? A-PLUS Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with a couple tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you catch a water pipe covered in frost or any swelling within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it sounds pretty straightforward to know if your water lines are frozen, keep in mind not all plumbing pipes are visible. If you turn on the shower and the water isn’t coming out, 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?
First things first: before you start trying 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 end up all over your floors if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and prohibiting water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve turned off the water, and collected your mop, towels, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, use a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try packing towels that have been soaked in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a propane heater, kerosene, or blowtorch, or anything else with an open flame, as this may cause a fire hazard.
If you are not able to 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 – turn off your home’s water supply. Then, call an expert plumber immediately. While you wait on the plumber to come, start cleaning up the water with a mop, rags, sponges – whatever you have – to soak up as much water as you can before it causes damage. If the damage is severe, go ahead and reach out to your insurance agent – a large number of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that end up with water damage.
Don’t wait until something terrible happens to find out how to turn off your water supply. Take a couple 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 practice now will save you crucial time during a plumbing emergency.