The cold weather brings enough misery, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But in addition to sickness and the bitter cold, it can also come with a certain plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and enlarge, it can create 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 usual homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing approximately $5000.
So what can you do in the event you think your pipes may be frozen? Epperson 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 coated in frost or any swelling within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it seems pretty easy to know if your water lines are frozen, keep in mind not all plumbing pipes are visible. If you turn on the faucet and the water isn’t coming out, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t filling back up after your flush, that’s also a sign that your pipes might be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
Warning: 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 leak all over your floors 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, sponges, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, use a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try placing towels that have been submerged 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 could cause a fire risk.
If you are not able to locate or get to 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?
As we said, first things first – shut off your home’s water supply. Then, call an expert plumber ASAP. As you wait on the plumber to get there, start soaking 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 critical, go ahead and contact your insurance agent – a large number of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.
Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to understand how to shut off your water supply. Take a few minutes now to learn exactly where your water supply valve is located and exactly how to shut off the water to your home. A little preparation now will save you valuable time during a plumbing emergency.