What would you do if a water pipe inside your home burst due to freezing?
What would you do if, as you sit here at your computer, you hear a strange noise, then the sound of water running, and find a pipe under a sink or elsewhere shooting water all over the place?
That water will continue to gush onto the floor if you haven’t already shut it down, and no, the sink faucet controls will NOT turn off the leaking water.
Hopefully you are home if this ever happens to you. If it does happen, hopefully you already know where the main water shutoff is for your home. A quarter million American families a year have one or more rooms in their houses flooded and their lives disrupted each winter because of pipes that freeze and break, according to State Farm Fire and Casualty Company.
If you don’t know where the shutoff is in your home, go find it right now and try it out. If you can’t find it, look in the area where your water supply enters your home, or near your water softener or your well pump, you’ll find it. Try turning the valve to the off position (turn to the right or turn parallel to the pipe itself), then go try a faucet to ensure you’ve turned it off. Nice work! You now know more about your own home than you did 5 minutes ago.
The first priority is to keep your pipes from freezing in the first place by insulating the area where they are or by insulating the pipes themselves.
If your pipe does freeze and burst, however, at least now you know how to stop the water from getting all over the place. A little water can ruin a lot of stuff, and can ruin an otherwise peaceful winter evening in a hurry.