Every year, nearly half a million homes and businesses suffer from water damage due to a frozen pipe. Statistics also show that there are five times more claims to homeowner insurance policies because of severe water damage than due to fire, theft, or vandalism. While weatherizing your home should be as routine as checking for batteries in smoke detectors, it is often something that gets overlooked, that is until you turn your faucets on one morning and nothing comes out! If you think you can take care of the problem yourself, you should know that thawing them out too quickly or improperly can cause them to burst. This is not a time to be thrifty, you need a licensed plumber!
Why Frozen Pipes are so Costly
As you may have learned in science class back in junior high, water expands when it turns into a solid state. For this reason, it can cause small cracks that will create leaks to large breaks that will result in rubber boots and buckets if not handled quickly and properly.
When a pipe is damaged in any way, water not only causes the obvious problems of ruining carpets, floors, furniture, etc., it can also lead to mold damage. Flooding weakens the foundation of your home and if it happens to seep past this point, floor joints can also be compromised.
Many homes that have basements that aren’t visited often are especially at risk for serious damage because even a small leak can wreak havoc in the space. Not to mention, if you have your furnace or any electronics down there, they can fry and any furniture or boxes will be destroyed.
Hiring a Plumber
Some people will tell you to just take a hairdryer to your pipes but the problem with that idea is that if you don’t locate the frozen spot and thaw the ice in the proper direction, you can actually cause them to explode from the pressure. Burst pipes and water damage are ridiculously expensive repairs. Do yourself a favor and hire a plumber but don’t be taken advantage of! Some plumbers know that homeowners are in a panic during these situations and it is reflected in their cost.
- Referrals – Using a referral site is ideal because credentials and references have already been checked for you, saving you a lot of time. When you need a job done properly, rely on the help of referrals.
- Get a Quote – Sure a rough estimate talked about in conversation may seem great until you get the bill and the job costs more because it took longer than anticipated. If the plumber can’t give you a quote for the entire job, ask for an hourly rate.
Since many plumbers charge by the hour, the better prepared you are, the more money you can ultimately save yourself. Since there are really not fixtures to buy, there aren’t a lot of ways to cut costs but you can have the space ready to save time and money.
Quite often, frozen pipes are under a sink located next to an exterior wall. Have everything pulled out from under the sink. If your plumber is having to stop and move detergents, bug spray, and household cleaning supplies, the clock still keeps ticking. If you happen to have a crawl space or a detached basement with an exterior door, shovel it off if needed.
It is not uncommon for pipes to occur right after a large snowfall so if your plumber has to shovel his way to get into your trap door only to find it’s frozen shut, you are paying for a lot of extra time. Have any padlocks removed and check to make sure there are light bulbs working as well. Also, your plumber will probably have his own supplies like towels, rags and buckets but it doesn’t hurt to have these things ready.
Educate yourself on what methods a plumber will take to remedy your frozen pipes so you aren’t taken advantage of for unnecessary repairs. This is a serious matter and it is easy to become very vulnerable during a crisis. Unfortunately, some plumbers will prey on that vulnerability. Make sure that you find a licensed professional who is honest and well-respected so you can feel confident in your repair as well as the price you pay.
Posted by: TrustedPros