Fixing Frozen Pipes Before They Burst

February 02, 2017

The cold weather brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, freezing temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But along with sickness and the awful cold, it 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 expand, it can create anything from a tiny leak, to a full-fledge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com said that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the average claim costing approximately $5000.

So what can you do in the event you think your pipes may be frozen? Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with a couple 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 sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it sounds pretty simple to know if your water lines are frozen, keep in mind not all plumbing pipes are visible. If you turn on the sink and the water isn’t moving, or not flowing properly, or your toilets won’t refill after your flush, that’s also an indication that your pipes might be frozen.

So How Do You Thaw a Frozen Water Pipe?

NOTE: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, shut off your home’s water supply. Once you start to 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 acting as a plug and prohibiting water from spilling out of your pipes.

Once you’ve shut off the water, and collected your mop, sponges, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that could possibly 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 saturated 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 cannot 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?

As we said, first things first – power off your home’s water supply. Then, call a professional plumber ASAP. As you wait on the plumber to come, start mopping 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 reach out to your insurance agent – a large number of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.

Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to learn how to power off your water supply. Take a couple minutes now to learn right where your water supply valve is located and how to correctly shut off the water to your home. A little practice now will save you crucial time during a plumbing emergency.

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