There is no doubt that winter is upon us. We try to stay warm while arctic blasts bring freezing temperatures to the region along with severe cold weather and even some snowfall resulting in icy conditions from melting and freezing. Such extreme weather can damage homes, and one major risk is frozen water pipes.
Even if you didn’t take steps to protect your pipes before winter set in by applying heat trace tape and insulation, draining hoses and outdoor pipes, sealing cracks, etc, there are still things you can do to try to prevent frozen water pipes in your home. This article from ErieSense.com (February, 2014) offers advice to help during this severe winter weather. See: “I didn’t freeze proof: can I still protect pipes?”
A Few Chilling Facts About Frozen Pipes
The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety offers the following tips to keep in mind when it comes to frozen pipes.
- Frozen water pipes are one of the biggest risks for homewners when the temperature drops below 32 degrees, and approximately 37% of all frozen pipe failures occur in a basement.
- When a water pipe freezes, it could burst; and an opening of just 1/8-inch in a pipe could typically cause 250 gallons of water to escape in a day’s time.
- A water pipe that ruptures due to freezing can lead to as much as $5000 in water damage.
Worst Case Frozen Pipe Scenario…
If, despite your best efforts, your pipes freeze, the Insurance Information Institute offers this advice:
- If you discover that pipes are frozen, don’t wait for them to burst. Take measures to thaw them immediately, or call a plumber for assistance.
- If your pipes burst, first turn off the water and then mop up spills. You don’t want the water to do more damage than it already has.
- Make temporary repairs and take other steps to protect your property from further damage. Remove any carpet or furniture that can be further damaged from seepage.
- Make a list of the damaged articles.
- Call your agent or company as soon as you can. An insurance adjuster doesn’t need to see the spill before you take action. However, he or she will want to inspect any damaged items.
- Save the receipts for what you spend—including additional living expenses if you must leave your home until repairs are completed—and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Homeowners Insurance Tip
The Insurance Information Institute tells us that standard homeowners policies will usually cover most of the kinds of damage that result from a freeze. For example, if house pipes freeze and burst or if ice forms in gutters and causes water to back up under roof shingles and seep into the house. You would also typically be covered if the weight of snow or ice damages your house. They advise checking with your agent or company so you’ll be sure what your policy covers.
Here at the Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency, we are always glad to assist you when you have insurance questions or wish to discuss your insurance coverage. Why not contact our office at your convenience or arrange for a no-obligation policy review right here online?