The cold weather brings enough torment, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But in addition to sickness and the awful cold, it can also bring a certain plumbing program – frozen pipes.
When the weather turns and the temperature dips below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and enlarge, it can cause anything from a tiny leak, to a full-fledge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com said that water damage from broken pipes is one of the most typical homeowners insurance claims, with the typical claim costing approximately $5000.
So what can you do if you think your pipes might be frozen? Rolf Griffin Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with some tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you catch a water pipe coated 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 simple 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 flowing, or not flowing properly, or your toilets won’t refill after your flush, that’s also a sign that your pipes may be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
Warning: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, shut down your home’s water supply. Once you start to 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 preventing water from leaking out of your pipes.
Once you’ve shut off the water, and gathered up a mop, towels, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, use a heat lamp, space heater, 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 propane heater, kerosene, or blowtorch, or any other item with an open flame, as this could cause a fire risk.
If you are not able to locate or access the frozen water pipe, call an expert 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. As you wait on the plumber to get there, start cleaning up the water with a mop, towels, sponges – whatever you have – to soak up as much water as possible before it causes damage. If the damage is critical, go ahead and reach out to your insurance agent – most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.
Don’t wait until something terrible happens to find out how to shut off your water supply. Take some time now to learn right where your water supply valve is located and exactly how to shut off the water to your home. A little practice now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.