The winter season brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the consistent need for deicer. But along with sickness and the awful cold, it can also usher in a certain plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the temperatures drop down below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and expand, it can cause anything from a small leak, to a complete flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com published that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most typical homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing about $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes might be frozen? McKinley Heating Service Experts is here to with a few tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you notice a water pipe covered in frost or any lumps within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it may seem pretty straightforward to know if your water lines are frozen, remember not all plumbing pipes are obvious. 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 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, shut off your home’s water supply. As you thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will become water and that water could spill out 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 down the water, and got your mop, towels, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that may come flowing out, find a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer 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 blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or any other item with an open flame, as this may cause a fire danger.
If you can’t locate or get to the frozen water pipe, call a licensed plumber to come to your home and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
Like we said before, first things first – power off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber right away. As you wait on the plumber to come, start cleaning up the water with a mop, towels, sponges – whatever you have – to clean up as much water as you can before it causes damage. If the damage is serious, go ahead and contact your insurance agent – a large number of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that result in 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 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 crucial time during a plumbing emergency.