Fixing Frozen Pipes Before They Burst

February 02, 2017

The winter season brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, icy temperatures, and the consistent need for deicer. But along with sickness and the awful cold, winter can also usher in a certain plumbing program – frozen pipes.

When the weather turns and the temperature dips below freezing and the water in your pipes freeze and swell, it can cause anything from a small leak, to a complete flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com said that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most typical homeowners insurance claims, with the typical claim costing about $5000.

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

How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe

If you catch a water line covered in frost or any lumps within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear indicator that your water pipe is frozen. While it may seem pretty straightforward to know if your water lines are frozen, just note that not all plumbing pipes are in sight. If you turn on the faucet and the water isn’t flowing, 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?

First things first: before you start trying to thaw your pipes, turn off your home’s water supply. As you 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 functioning as a plug and stopping water from spilling out of your pipes.

Once you’ve turned off the water, and got your mop, rags, and anything else you might need to clean up the water that could possibly 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 submerged in hot water around your water pipes. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or anything else with an open flame, as this might cause a fire risk.

If you cannot locate or get to the frozen water pipe, call a professional plumber to come out 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 professional plumber immediately. While you are waiting on the plumber to arrive, start soaking up the water with a mop, rags, sponges – whatever you have – to clean up as much water as you possibly can before it causes damage. If the damage is severe, go ahead and give your insurance agent a call – the majority of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that end up with water damage.

Don’t wait until something terrible happens to understand how to power off your water supply. Take a couple minutes now to learn exactly 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 valuable time during a plumbing emergency.

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