The cold weather brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But on top of sickness and the awful cold, it can also bring a specific 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 result in anything from a tiny leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com said that water damage from ruptured pipes is one of the most typical homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing approximately $5000.
So what can you do in case you think your pipes might be frozen? Matz-Rightway is here to with a couple tips.
How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe
If you see a water pipe coated in frost or any lumps within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it seems pretty straightforward to know if your water lines are frozen, keep in mind not all plumbing pipes are obvious. If you turn on the sink and the water isn’t moving, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t filling back up after your flush, that’s also an indication that your pipes could be frozen.
So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?
First things first: before you start working to thaw your pipes, shut down your home’s water supply. When you begin to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will melt into water and that water could leak all over your house if the frozen water has been acting as a plug and preventing water from spilling 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 could potentially come flowing out, find a heat lamp, space heater, 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 blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or any product with an open flame, as this could cause a fire hazard.
If you are not able to locate or reach the frozen water pipe, call a licensed plumber to visit your home and inspect your pipes.
What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?
As we said, first things first – turn off your home’s water supply. Then, call a licensed plumber immediately. While you are waiting on the plumber to come, start cleaning up the water with a mop, cloths, sponges – whatever you have – to sop up as much water as you possibly can before it causes damage. If the damage is severe, 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 something terrible happens to learn how to power off your water supply. Take some time now to learn exactly 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 valuable time during a plumbing emergency.