The winter season brings enough misery, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But along with sickness and the nasty cold, winter 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 swell, it can create anything from a tiny leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com said that water damage from ruptured pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the typical claim costing approximately $5000.
So what can you do in the event you think your pipes may be frozen? Jack Nelson Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with some tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you catch a water pipe coated in frost or any lumps within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it may seem pretty easy to know if your water lines are frozen, just note that not all plumbing pipes are in sight. If you turn on the faucet and the water isn’t coming out, or not flowing properly, or your toilets won’t refill after your flush, that’s also an indication that your pipes may 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 spill out all over your floors if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and preventing water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and gathered up a mop, towels, and anything else you may need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, find a heat lamp, space heater, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try placing towels that have been soaked in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a propane heater, kerosene, or blowtorch, or any product with an open flame, as this may 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 – power off your home’s water supply. Then, call an expert plumber ASAP. While you are waiting on the plumber to come, start mopping up the water with a mop, cloths, sponges – whatever you have – to clean 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 end up with water damage.
Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to learn 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 correctly shut off the water to your home. A little preparation now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.