The winter season brings enough torment, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the constant 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 freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and enlarge, it can cause anything from a tiny leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com said that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the typical claim costing around $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes may be frozen? Levy & Son Service Experts is here to with some tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you notice a water pipe covered in frost or any bulges 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 obvious. 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 might be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
Warning: before you start working to thaw your pipes, turn off your home’s water supply. As you thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will become water and that water could end up all over your home if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and preventing water from escaping out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut down the water, and gathered up a mop, rags, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, utilize a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try placing towels that have been drenched in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a propane heater, kerosene, or blowtorch, or any product with an open flame, as this could cause a fire danger.
If you are not able to locate or reach the frozen water pipe, call a licensed plumber to come out and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Remember, first things first – power off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber right away. While you are waiting on the plumber to get there, start cleaning up the water with a mop, rags, sponges – whatever you have – to soak up as much water as you can before it causes damage. If the damage is critical, go ahead and contact your insurance agent – a large number of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.
Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to find out how to shut off your water supply. Take a few minutes now to learn right 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.