The winter cold brings enough torment, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But in addition to sickness and the nasty cold, winter can also come with a specific plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the weather turns and the temperature dips below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and expand, 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 might be frozen? Jack Nelson 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 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 flowing, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t refilling 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 the process of thawing 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 stopping water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and got your mop, towels, and anything else you might 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 wrapping 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 could 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 wait on the plumber to arrive, 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 – the majority of 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.