The winter cold brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the bitter cold, winter can also usher in 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 result in anything from a minimal leak, to a complete flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from ruptured pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the typical claim costing around $5000.
So what can you do in the event you think your pipes could be frozen? Donelson Air Service Experts is here to with a few tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you see a water line covered in frost or any lumps within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear indicator that your water pipe is frozen. While it seems pretty straightforward to know if your water lines are frozen, remember not all plumbing pipes are in sight. If you turn on the faucet and the water isn’t moving, or not flowing properly, or your toilets won’t refill after your flush, that’s also a sign that your pipes could be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
NOTE: before you start the process of thawing your pipes, turn off your home’s water supply. Once you start to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will melt into water and that water could end up all over your home if the frozen water has been functioning as a plug and prohibiting water from leaking out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut off the water, and gathered up a mop, sponges, and anything else you may need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, use a hair dryer, space heater, or heat lamp to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try wrapping towels that have been submerged in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a propane heater, kerosene, or blowtorch, 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 a professional plumber to visit your home and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Like we said before, first things first – shut off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber ASAP. 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 you can before it causes damage. If the damage is serious, go ahead and give your insurance agent a call – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that result in water damage.
Don’t wait until something terrible happens to understand how to power off your water supply. Take a couple minutes now to learn just 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.