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 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 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 in the event you think your pipes may be frozen? A-PLUS Service Experts is here to with a few tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you catch a water pipe covered in frost or any bulges within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear indicator that your water pipe is frozen. While it seems pretty straightforward 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 a sign 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, shut down your home’s water supply. As you thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will turn into water and that water could spill out all over your floors if the frozen water has been working as a plug and prohibiting water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut off the water, and collected your mop, towels, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, use a heat lamp, space heater, 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 blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or anything else with an open flame, as this may cause a fire hazard.
If you can’t locate or access the frozen water pipe, call a licensed 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 right away. 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 possible before it causes damage. If the damage is serious, 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 shut 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 preparation now will save you crucial time during a plumbing emergency.