The cold weather brings enough misery, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the awful cold, the cool season can also bring a specific plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and expand, it can result in anything from a small leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from broken pipes is one of the most usual homeowners insurance claims, with the typical claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes might be frozen? Bob Brown Service Experts is here to with a few tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you see a water pipe covered in frost or any lumps within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear indicator that your water pipe is frozen. While it sounds pretty straightforward to know if your water lines are frozen, remember 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 filling back up after your flush, that’s also an indication that your pipes may be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
First things first: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, shut off 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 home if the frozen water has been acting 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 may need to clean up the water that could possibly come flowing out, use a heat lamp, space heater, 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 propane heater, kerosene, or blowtorch, or any other item with an open flame, as this may cause a fire hazard.
If you can’t locate or reach the frozen water pipe, call an expert plumber to come out 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 right away. As you wait 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 possible before it causes damage. If the damage is severe, go ahead and give your insurance agent a call – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that end up with water damage.
Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to learn how to power off your water supply. Take some time now to learn exactly where your water supply valve is located and how to appropriately shut off the water to your home. A little preparation now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.