HUDSON VALLEY, NY – As temperatures plummet on the first bout of intense cold in the area, the possibility of pipes freezing in your home becomes more pressing.
Frozen plumbing in unheated basements and crawl spaces can be messy and expensive to repair. And prevention is better than dealing with it afterwards.
Rapid temperature drops, poor insulation, and low thermostats are common causes of frozen pipes.
SUEZ, which provides drinking water to customers in Rockland, Putnam, and Westchester counties, reminds people that by following a few simple tips, you can avoid costly repairs.
- If you are not going to be there for a long time, keep a minimum of heat in the house. This will help protect the pipes in case the temperature drops.
- When you want to turn off the heater, drain all water from the pipes, toilets, and water heater, and turn off the power source to the water heater.
When the pipes freeze
- If your pipes freeze, it’s important to clear any clogs as soon as possible to minimize damage. It is best to call a licensed plumber.
- If a water pipe has burst, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve in the house.
- Slightly open a nearby faucet to allow the pipe to drain as it thaws.
- Do not use electrical appliances in areas with standing water.
- Never use hot water or a blowtorch on a frozen pipe or water meter
When the worst happens and the pipe bursts, try these tips from AAA Mid-Atlantic to file and manage insurance claims:
- Make a list of the damaged items and take photos.
- Be sure to keep receipts for your expenses – including additional living expenses if you have to leave your home pending repairs – and send them to your insurance company for reimbursement.
- Standard homeowner guidelines cover most types of damage caused by freezing. These include, for example, when house pipes freeze and burst or when ice forms in gutters and water collects under roof shingles and penetrates the house. You would also be covered if the weight of snow or ice damaged your home.
- If your home suffers water damage, it is important that it is properly dried and repaired to avoid potential mold problems. Remember, mold cannot survive without moisture.
- Check with your agent or insurance company so you are sure what your policy covers.
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