It’s hard to think of a worse start to a winter day in Western New York than turning on the faucet and … nothing. Maybe there’s a trickle of water, but it’s clear you have a frozen pipe. This article includes tips to help you prevent or address what could easily become a very messy and expensive situation. For more information, view this infographic from one of our carrier partners, The Andover Companies.
Frozen pipes can cause significant damage to a home, including:
- Burst pipes: When water inside a pipe freezes, it expands and puts pressure on the pipes. This can cause the pipe to burst, leading to water damage and costly repairs.
- Water damage: When pipes burst, water can flood the surrounding area, causing damage to walls, floors, furniture, and personal belongings.
- Increased utility bills: If a frozen pipe causes a reduction in water flow, it can result in an increase in your water and energy bills.
- Health concerns: Standing water and excess moisture can lead to mold growth, which can cause health problems.
- Property damage: Frozen pipes can cause damage to the structure of a building, including foundation damage and ceiling collapses.
In short, frozen pipes can cause a variety of costly and dangerous problems, so it’s important to take steps to prevent them.
Tips to avoid frozen pipes
Keep your home warm
- Maintain an interior temperature of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even when you’re sleeping or not at home.
- Seal any drafts and leave interior doors open to help keep an even temperature from room to room.
- Keep your garage door closed to maintain a warmer temperature where water lines may be located.
Tend to your pipes
- Leave the cabinet doors open in the kitchen and bathroom so your pipes aren’t shut off from the warm air.
- You can also insulate your pipes with sleeves, heat tape or heat cable. Insulation is especially important in unheated areas, such as your attic, basement, garage or crawl space, and for pipes running along exterior walls.
- During severe cold spells, you may want to leave all faucets, both hot and cold, running at a slight trickle.
If you plan to be away from your home for an extended period of time, consider turning off the main water supply and draining the pipes.
Remember, the best way to deal with frozen pipes is to prevent them from freezing in the first place. Frozen water in your pipes can cause them to burst, meaning you’ll have a mess on your hands once that water unthaws. So, if you have a frozen pipe burst act quickly to shut off your main water supply, and call in a licensed plumber to assess the situation.
Understand your coverage
Be sure to touch base with your Walsh Duffield agent to check whether you’re covered for the damage a frozen pipe may cause. We’re happy to answer all of your policy questions this winter, and beyond.