The winter season brings enough misery, with cold and flu season, icy temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But in addition to sickness and the bitter cold, winter can also usher in a specific plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the temperatures drop down below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and swell, it can cause anything from a minimal leak, to a full-fledge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com published that water damage from ruptured pipes is one of the most usual homeowners insurance claims, with the standard claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do in case you think your pipes could be frozen? Knochelmann Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with a few tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you see a water line coated in frost or any bulges within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it seems pretty simple 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 moving, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t filling back up after your flush, that’s also an indicator that your pipes could be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, shut down your home’s water supply. When you begin to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will turn into water and that water could leak 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 shut off the water, and got your mop, rags, and anything else you could 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 wrapping towels that have been soaked in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a propane heater, kerosene, or blowtorch, or any other item with an open flame, as this may cause a fire hazard.
If you cannot locate or access the frozen water pipe, call an expert plumber to visit your home and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Remember, first things first – shut off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber right away. While you are waiting on the plumber to come, start mopping up the water with a mop, cloths, sponges – whatever you have – to sop up as much water as you can before it causes damage. If the damage is critical, go ahead and give your insurance agent a call – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.
Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to understand how to power off your water supply. Take some time now to learn just 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.