Besides the obvious that frozen pipes mean no water flow, it can also mean your pipes could possibly BURST! This can cause some of the most expensive home repairs and insurance claims. In fact, Insure.com reports that water damage is among the most common causes of homeowners' insurance claims. With our increasingly colder, snowier, northeastern winter upon us, Joyce, Jackman & Bell Insurors want to provide recommendations for our homeowners out there to avoid frozen pipe disasters.
First, how does this happen?
A basic law of chemistry is that water expands as it freezes. When water freezes in a pipe, the pressure from this expansion can break the pipe open no matter the strength of the material – metal or plastic. Pipes that are in this danger zone are those that are exposed to severe cold like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Interior pipes that run against exterior walls with little to no insulation are even at risk for freezing.
So let’s prevent this, and here’s how:
- Insulate any exposed water or drain pipes in uninsulated areas with electrical heating tape and foam insulation.
- Drain and turn off main water supply to any exterior faucets.
- Consider using an insulated cover for exterior faucets.
- Disconnect and drain garden hoses if stored outside.
- Protect water supply lines in garage by keeping doors closed.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- Allow cold water drip from the faucets that’s served through suspected pipe.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night.
- leave the heat on in your home set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
- If a pipe freezes, leave faucet open as you treat the pipe to allow melting ice to flow out.
- Consider professionally relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
- Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces to maintain higher temperatures.
- When all else fails!...please contact a licensed plumber or building professional
Joyce, Jackman & Bell Insurors want you to have a stress free winter season. Contact us to review your current homeowners policy to be sure you have the coverage you need for that peace of mind.