Brrr, it's a cold duck in this house! A few days ago, when you left, you did not expect it to be so cold. You put the heating back on. When you want to draw water, not a drop is flowing... A pipe of water has frozen. How to thaw the water pipe safely and prevent flooding?
How to recognize the freezing of a pipe?
If, in very cold weather, the water does not flow when you open a faucet, there is a good chance that a portion of the pipe will be frozen. Remember to ask your neighbors if they have water. If so, and if you are the only one in the neighborhood who does not have water, it is a problem of frost.
If all your pipes are inaccessible, you can only wait until the temperature becomes lenient to find water. But you will have to ask yourself about the condition of your water distribution system and its insulation...
Fortunately in the majority of cases, it is a portion of pipe passing outside or in a poorly insulated place that the problem occurs. Before winter always think about properly isolate your pipes.
How to thaw a water pipe?
- Spot the frozen place: Start by looking for the location of the pipe that is frozen. Is it towards a faucet? Or in a place where there is a cold draft? Or a section of the pipe where the insulation is defective?
A frozen pipeline may have ice marks where the water is frozen. If it is not apparent, wipe your hands along the pipe to identify the coldest parts.
- Close the water tap: With this precaution, you will limit the risk of flooding. Indeed, the gel may have cracked or broken the pipe. And when you thaw it and the water starts to flow again, you will have a leak. Remember to protect nearby objects that are afraid of water.
On the other hand, open at least one tap so that the thawed water can flow.
- Thaw the pipe: To thaw a frozen pipe, the hair dryer is the best tool. Otherwise, a radiator blowing hot water bottles or hot towels will do.
Never use a direct flame or torch, you could damage the pipe.
The warming must always be progressive so as not to burst the pipe. Proceed the hairdryer a few inches from the frozen pipe, making movements back and forth. Do not stand still on one point.
- Inspect the thawed pipeline: When the water begins to flow from the open faucet, carefully inspect the pipe. If it is not damaged then you can open the general water supply. If the hose is cracked or burst, call an emergency plumber.
Line freezing and insurance
In the event of damage following the freezing of your pipes, can you ask for an indemnification with your insurance? It all depends on the clauses of your home multi-risk insurance.
In general, insurance covers the pipes located inside the house under the warranty water damage. But some insurances do not consider that the frost damage fall into this category or limit the assumption of responsibility.
Moreover, the majority of insurances only reimburse certain conditions of application: Minimum temperature to be respected in the house, obligation to cut the water in case of prolonged absence, insulation of the pipes, etc. Do not hesitate to take stock with your insurer.
For the external pipes (water inflow and drainage), it is often a contractual option that must be taken in addition or a warranty extension.
Remember that in the event of negligence on your part, your liability may be incurred and your insurer may refuse to compensate you. Be particularly vigilant to the good condition of your pipes in winter.
If you are a tenant, you are presumed responsible for the good condition of the pipes. In case of damage, it is therefore your insurance that will compensate you. Unless you can prove the negligence of your lessor. In this case, he will be declared responsible.
Good to know: In case of a disaster following the freezing of a pipe, you have a period of 5 days to declare the damage. Do not delay in warning your insurance. Remember to keep the furniture damaged and take pictures.