Winter Is Here, Here’s How to Handle Frozen and Burst Pipes

Every year people experience thousands of dollars in damage when a pipe bursts in their home. When water freezes in unheated crawl spaces or other areas where warm air doesn’t reach, the risk of a burst pipe goes up dramatically. Now that the cold weather is here let’s go over what to do if you get frozen or—in the worst case—burst pipes. 

Find It.
If your pipes have frozen but haven’t yet burst there’s still time to fix the issue. Open cabinet doors, and check crawlspaces and unheated basements. These are the places where exposed pipes generally freeze. If you can find the frozen spot use a hairdryer to gently heat the frozen pipe until it opens up and then be sure to insulate that pipe by sealing up any leaks in the area and wrapping the pipe with insulation.  

Shut It Off.
If the pipe has already burst it’s vital to find your shut off valve and shut the water supply for the house off to prevent even more water damage. After you shut off the water open all of your plumbing fixtures—both sink taps and shower or bathtub fixtures—to help release the pressure that has built up in the pipe. Make sure to open the cold taps first. After that is done shut off the hot water heater and open all of your hot water faucets. If your sink or shower has a single control for both temperatures open those last and set it in the middle. 

Document It.
Take pictures and document any damage before you get around to the cleanup. Your insurance company will want proof of any and all damage; so make sure to photograph everything that has been affected by the water flow. Don’t throw anything away, no matter how ruined, as the insurance company will want proof of the damage. 

Stay Safe.
Mold can form very quickly on wet surfaces, and flooded carpet and drywall are a perfect medium for it to grow on. Once you have called your insurance company and a plumber call in a mold remediation company such as Branch Services. They’ll be able to assess the damage and find out if you have a mold issue. If you do they can remove it. If you don’t, they can help you with the removal of damaged materials and the rebuilding that will have to be done after the cleanup. 

A burst pipe can be a huge hassle, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. The most important thing to remember is to stay calm, shut off the water, and call the experts! They’ll make the experience as painless as possible.