If you open a tap and water doesn’t come out, or if you flush a toilet and it doesn’t refill, chances are you have a frozen pipe. Fortunately, you can still take measures to prevent or minimize damage.
- Turn off your water: If you suspect you have a frozen pipe, your very first course of action should be to shut off the water at the main valve or the meter in case the pipe does burst. Once the water is shut off, open up all the taps in your house. This will help relieve any pressure building up inside the lines.
- Thaw the pipe: When water isn’t coming out of a particular tap or refilling a specific toilet, begin by warming the connecting pipe. Gently use a hair dryer, starting at the faucet and working your way back.
- Work with a partner: A burst pipe can cause a lot of damage very quickly, so the faster you can figure out whether you have a leak, the less water damage you’ll be dealing with. When the pipe is thawed and you’re ready to turn the water on, recruit a friend or two to help you spot any leaks. Station your friend in an unheated area of your home, like your attic or crawlspace, to look and listen for leaks as you turn the water back on.
If a pipe has burst, you’ll immediately notice abundant water or a rushing sound in the walls. In this case, shut off the water to your house immediately and call a licensed plumber. If no apparent leaks are detected, check each of your faucets in turn. If you notice low water pressure at a particular fixture, you may have a slow leak in that line. You’ll want to call a plumber to investigate further. Visually inspect exposed pipes in your attic, crawlspace and utility room as well.
If Your Pipe Bursts
If you suspect a burst pipe, shut off the water to your home immediately and contact a licensed plumber to assess and address the situation. Water mitigation is imperative to minimize damage to the structure and contents, so act fast and be sure to hire a professional remediation company to start the drying out process. There are a lot of companies who claim to offer emergency service, but lag when it comes to such an emergency. The longer a dwelling is aloud to sit with water, the more damage it will cost.