How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing/Bursting in the Winter

291690New England is notorious for their brutally cold winters and snow storms. Somedays the temperature reaches as high as 15 degrees and as low as 0 degrees (or below).  During these cold days and nights, it’s important to be aware of the potential damages that can occur to your pipes at home. When water freezes, it expands. Not only will your pipes freeze, but  they also run the risk of bursting. This can cause a lot of water damage to funiture and personal belongings in your home.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes:

  • Detach all water hoses and cover all of the outside faucets.
  • Close and lock all windows and place door draft stoppers at the bottom of your outside doors to prevent cold drafts.
  • Use pipe insulation on pipes in the attic and on pipes that are close to the outside walls.
  • Keep the house temperature  at 68 degrees or higher when it’s very cold outside.
  • Keep water circulating through water pipes by having faucets faintly drip with warm water. This will give some pressure release throughout the pipes. Monitor the faucets to make sure the drains aren’t frozen, which could cause your sinks to overflow.
  • Open the cabinet doors to allow heat to get to  the uninsulated pipes.
  • If you are going away on vacation, leave the thermostat set  at 65 degrees or higher.  If you are going away for a long period of time it’s a good idea to drain the water system and shut off the main valve. Also, have someone occasionally check on your home to make sure the heating system is still functioning and working properly.

What to do if a Pipe Freezes:

  • Manually use a hair dryer to thaw out the pipes, starting closest to the faucet so the water is able to escape.
  • Place a space heater in the room where the pipes are  frozen (closely monitor and don’t leave it unattended).
  • Place hot towels around the pipes
  • Keep unthawing pipes until full water pressure is restored.

What to do if a Pipe Bursts:

  • Turn off the water to the main valve.
  • Call a plumber.
  • Call a restoration/clean up service so they can properly assess, clean up, and document the damage – they will know exactly what to do!
  • Call your insurance agent or company to notify them of the loss.

Remember – the frozen pipe coverage in your homeowner policy is based on the heat being properly maintained. Keep in mind that the extra cost of fuel to heat your home could cost less  than your deductible amount!

January 24th, 2014 by Quincy Insurance Agency LLC