Fixing Frozen Pipes Before They Burst

February 02, 2017

The winter season brings enough despair, with cold and flu season, frigid temperatures, and the excessive need for deicer. But along with sickness and the nasty cold, it can also usher in 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 cause anything from a tiny leak, to a complete flooding of your home. HouseLogic.com reported that water damage from burst pipes is one of the most typical homeowners insurance claims, with the standard claim costing approximately $5000.

So what can you do in the event you think your pipes might be frozen? Gordon's Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to with some tips.

How to Identify a Frozen Water Pipe

If you notice a water pipe covered in frost or any bulges within the pipe, that it’s a pretty clear 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 shower and the water isn’t flowing, 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?

First things first: before you start working to thaw 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 spill out all over your floors if the frozen water has been functioning as a plug and prohibiting water from spilling out of your pipes.

Once you’ve shut down the water, and got your mop, sponges, and anything else you could need to clean up the water that could possibly come flowing out, utilize a hair dryer, space heater, or heat lamp to thaw the frozen water pipe. You can also try wrapping towels that have been drenched 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 could cause a fire danger.

If you can’t locate or get to the frozen water pipe, call a licensed plumber to come to your home and inspect your pipes.

What If the Worst Happens – a Pipe Bursts?

As we said, first things first – shut off your home’s water supply. Then, call an expert plumber right away. While you wait on the plumber to arrive, start soaking up the water with a mop, cloths, sponges – whatever you have – to sop 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 – the majority of homeowners insurance covers burst pipes that result in water damage.

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

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