The winter cold brings enough misery, with cold and flu season, icy temperatures, and the consistent need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the bitter cold, it can also usher in a specific 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 result in anything from a tiny leak, to a complete flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com published that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing around $5000.
So what can you do in the event you think your pipes might be frozen? Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air, A Service Experts Company is here to with some tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you see a water line covered in frost or any swelling within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it seems pretty straightforward to know if your water lines are frozen, keep in mind not all plumbing pipes are visible. If you turn on the shower and the water isn’t coming out, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t refilling after your flush, that’s also an indicator that your pipes might be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start the process of thawing your pipes, shut off your home’s water supply. When you begin to 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 acting as a plug and preventing water from leaking out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and collected your mop, towels, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, utilize a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try packing towels that have been saturated in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, propane heater, or kerosene, or any product with an open flame, as this could cause a fire hazard.
If you cannot locate or access 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 – turn off your home’s water supply. Then, call a professional plumber right away. As you wait on the plumber to get there, start mopping up the water with a mop, rags, sponges – whatever you have – to sop up as much water as you possibly can before it causes damage. If the damage is critical, 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 understand how to shut off your water supply. Take some time now to learn exactly where your water supply valve is located and exactly how to shut off the water to your home. A little prep now will save you valuable time during a plumbing emergency.