Pipe Freeze – Prevention

During harsh winter days when temperatures drop, it is important to understand how to deal with frozen pipes and thus prevent having to file an insurance claim. Water expands as it freezes which puts pressure on pipes. Pipes that freeze most often are exposed to severe cold such as outdoor hose bibs, water sprinkler lines, water lines in unheated areas such as basements and crawlspaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes in exterior walls with little or no insulation are also vulnerable.

To prevent freezing water lines during winter it is best to take precautions in Fall. Steps you can take to protect your lines are:

Drain water from sprinkler and swimming pool supply lines. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Remove hoses from outdoor faucets, drain them and store for next season.  Close inside calves that supply outside hose bibs. Drain the line by leaving the tap open.

Check for lines in unheated areas and be sure to insulate them. Places to check are basements, crawlspaces, attics, garages and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. If you have a whirlpool tub with an access panel, you will want to open it and check those lines as well. Be sure to insulate both hot and cold water pipes.

Hardware stores carry products specifically for insulating pipes. “Pipe sleeves”, “Heat Tape”, and “Heat Cable” are all great products. In a pinch, newspaper can be used to offer some protection, however, it is always best to use the proper insulating product.

During extremely cold days you can open kitchen and bathroom cabinets which will allow warmer air to circulate around your pipes.  If you have pets or small children you will want to move any chemicals from the cabinets to a safer location. You can also let the cold water drip from your faucet to prevent the pipe from freezing. A very slow trickle will do. Keeping your garage door closed will help to keep the worst of the cold out.

Maintaining heat is essential! Keep your thermostats set to the same temperature. Heating costs can be brutal during winter months, but they are preferable to having multiple pipe breaks throughout your home! If you will be away during cold weather, keep your thermostat at a MINIMUM of 55 degrees. Most thermostats have a margin of error in relation to actual temperature and that can vary by as much as plus/minus 11 degrees! This is especially important with regard to insurance. Not providing adequate heat can get a claim denied if you do have a frozen pipe burst.

I hope this information is helpful to you. A little planning and prevention can help you avoid a costly headache. Winter months can be a bear, but by taking the necessary steps to prevent pipe freezes, you increase the chance that you and your family will spend those months warm and cozy in your home.

If you find yourself with any claims questions, whether from this type of loss or any other, please remember I am here to help you. I am Michelle Murphy, licensed and bonded Public Adjuster in the State of Pennsylvania. I have been working in this industry for six years in the Pocono, Slate Belt and Lehigh Valley regions. I look forward to helping you with your claim. Feel free to call me at 570-730-8607 if you have any questions concerning damage to your home or business.  Come visit me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michelle-Murphy-Public-Adjuster/186668698043821 for more tips and to see photos of losses that I have serviced.

 

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