It is easy to understand that waking up to a frozen water main is not only surprising and frustrating, but it can also be costly if not managed properly. When experiencing a frozen water main you will most commonly become aware after turning on a faucet with no water coming out, or the pipe actually freezes and begins leaking as a result.
If your pipe is leaking the first step is to locate the main control valve in your home which is most commonly located near the front foundation wall in your basement.
Now that the valve is closed you can have a licensed plumber complete an investigation and assist in determining where the leak is coming from and most important, how did it occur.
If you are experiencing a complete failure of water into your home this is most common to your water main freezing at some point between your home and the city main in the roadway. In most cases it is suggested to avoid waiting what may be weeks or even months for the pipe to thaw, and replace the water main in its entirety.
If you have the luxury of time on your hands it is ok to wait it out but please understand that there is no way to tell if the pipe will thaw in a week or three months.
If you are experiencing a loss in water in one area or room in your home it is safe to assume that a pipe feeding this specific location has frozen and most likely needs to be thawed or replaced. Please take note that the process of applying heat to a pipe with the purposes to speed up the process is extremely risky and may result in larger problems than you frozen pipe. It is best to consult with a licensed plumber to avoid an all out failure, flooded house or a fire in some cases if not managed properly.
Your frozen water main can easily be avoided with one very easy and quick step! Simply leave a small stream of running water on the top floor of your home. I know it sounds too easy and there must be more to protecting your pipes from freezing.
It really is this simple, leave a small stream of water running from any plumbing fixture and the theory is that running water will never freeze. It is important to determine at what temperature you feel puts your home at risk and once concluded upon, simply leave a small stream of water running as desired.