Of all the home maintenance projects on your list, preventing pipes from freezing should be high on the list. Approximately 1 in 50 homeowners file water damage or pipe freeze claims with their homeowners’ insurance companies each year. Not only do these claims make up nearly 24% of all homeowners insurance claims, but they can also be some of the most expensive. Peter Kim of the Philadelphia Insurance Companies told Risk & Insurance that their average loss on frozen pipe is $ 27,000 and their most expensive claim is $ 1.7 million.
Even with excellent coverage and a low deductible, this type of claim can put your prices up through the roof. You also risk losing irreplaceable sentimental elements. And if you are uninsured or underinsured, such a loss can be financially and emotionally devastating.
Freezing pipes: prevention and recovery
Fortunately, preventing pipes from freezing can be quick, easy, and affordable. You can prepare the pipes in and around your home for cold temperatures to avoid frozen pipes that can expand, burst, and destroy your home and belongings. If the tubes are already frozen, there are steps you can take to prevent the tubes from breaking.
But first, make sure your pipes are protected. Hardware stores and hardware stores stock pipe insulation, which is foam pipe with a slot on one side so it can be easily slid onto exposed pipe. These can be attached to pipes in your basement, attics and crawl spaces, as well as to external pipes.
While you’re there, pick up insulated slip-on covers for outside taps to keep the water left inside from freezing. Turn off the outdoor water shut-off valve if you have one in your home. Disconnect all hoses before covering the faucets.
Seal all openings
If your home isn’t properly insulated, upgrading your insulation can help keep cool drafts away from pipes. Examine your home for other cracks or openings, such as On windows, door frames, or holes drilled for wiring, and fill them with sealant. Adding or replacing weather strips around door frames and window sills can also be beneficial.
Close the garage door when you are not using it to retain heat. Opening cabinet doors under sinks is another simple technique for preventing freeze pipes. When the outside temperature is below freezing, leaving these cabinets open can help keep the inner pipes significantly warmer.
Drop the faucets
Let the faucets drip before it gets freezing. Even a light trickle of hot and cold water from a faucet fed by exposed pipes can prevent them from freezing and bursting as the flowing water gives off pressure.
If you are going away and there is a chance the temperatures will drop, make sure your home is prepared. Turn off the water supply while you are away. If you leave the water on, make sure the oven stays on as well and the temperature stays at 55 or higher. Ask a trusted neighbor or loved one who lives reasonably close to check in with you, especially if it freezes. You can also install a frost alarm to alert you when the temperature in your home is dangerously low, e.g. B. during a power failure.
What to do if your pipes freeze
Even with the best planning and preparation, things happen. If your pipes should freeze (reduced or no running water is the main indicator), the first thing to do is to turn off your home water supply at the main shut-off valve and open all taps so that when the ice thaws the water can run out. Try to find the coldest pipe that is likely clogged there. Gently apply heat with a space heater, hair dryer, heating pad, or towels soaked in hot water. Avoid open flames and keep flammable materials away from sources of heat.
As the pipes thaw, turn the water back on slowly while checking for leaks. Dripping or pooling of water indicates a cracked pipe. If you discover a broken pipe or are unable to thaw your frozen pipes, contact a licensed plumber.
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for additional stories.
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