Fixing Frozen Pipes Before They Burst

February 02, 2017

The cold weather brings enough torment, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the constant need for deicer. But along with sickness and the bitter cold, winter can also come with a specific plumbing program – frozen pipes.

When the freezing temperatures arrive and the water in your pipes freeze and swell, it can cause anything from a minimal leak, to a huge flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com published that water damage from broken pipes is one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, with the standard claim costing around $5000.

So what can you do if you think your pipes may be frozen? Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with some tips.

How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe

If you see a water line covered in frost or any swelling within the pipe, that it’s a pretty sure sign that your water pipe is frozen. While it sounds pretty simple to know if your water lines are frozen, remember not all plumbing pipes are visible. If you turn on the faucet and the water isn’t moving, or not flowing properly, or your toilets aren’t refilling 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 the process of thawing your pipes, turn off your home’s water supply. Once you start to thaw the frozen pipe, that ice will turn into water and that water could leak all over your home if the frozen water has been working as a plug and preventing water from spilling out of your pipes.

Once you’ve shut down the water, and gathered up a mop, rags, and anything else you may need to clean up the water that could potentially come flowing out, find a hair dryer, space heater, or heat lamp to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try placing towels that have been submerged 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 risk.

If you are not able to locate or get to the frozen water pipe, call an expert plumber to come to your home and inspect your pipes.

What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?

Remember, first things first – turn off your home’s water supply. Then, call an expert plumber immediately. While you wait on the plumber to get there, start mopping 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 – a large number of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that cause water damage.

Don’t wait until something terrible happens to find out how to power 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 prep now will save you precious time during a plumbing emergency.

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