‘TIS THE SEASON FOR FROZEN PIPES BURSTING
Over a quarter of a million homes each year will suffer from water damage due to frozen or burst pipes. Winter weather and rapidly dropping temperatures coupled with poorly insulated plumbing systems expose homes to water damage and exacerbate plumbing problems.
But homeowners can take steps to help safeguard their property and possessions from water damage before it happens. Just follow this checklist to make certain:
- Inspect all pipes in your basement, attic, or storage areas that might be near an open window or poorly insulated wall. Check if these pipes have cracked and/or are leaking.
- Inspect your home’s foundation for cracks and take effort to fix the areas of disrepair. This will prevent cold air from seeping into the openings.
- Remove attachments from your exterior faucets. If items like garden hoses are left attached in the cold, frozen water may back up into your home’s plumbing and crack your pipes.
- Insulate your plumbing system. Wrap your pipes with insulated pipe sleeves to prevent frozen pipes, and replace any wet insulation you may already have with newer, dryer insulation.
- Always know where your plumbing shut-off valve is located. If your pipes burst or if the temperature is dropping quickly, make sure you can quickly shut the valve off.
We encourage people to be prepared, but we also understand that some incidents are unavoidable.
Here’s what homeowners can do when pipes freeze or burst:
- Shut off the main water supply valve, which is usually adjacent to the main service pipe or underneath the sink, and allow your pipes to drain by turning on all water taps and flushing your toilets after you switch off your home’s heating system. All leaks should stop once there is no more water coming from the taps.
- You may want to switch off your electricity if water has accumulated near electrical outlets, appliances, etc. Also, water leaks in areas like the ceiling tend to culminate around light fixtures.
- Locate the burst pipe. If it is a small crack you may be able to temporarily patch the leak, but if the damage is too severe, contact a professional.
- If you need to thaw frozen pipes, you can use a hair dryer or space heater, but do not use an open flame- it is a potentially dangerous practice.
- After you have taken these steps and minimized imminent damage, call a professional.
Frozen pipe bursts can expose your family to water damage that may prevent electrical use of appliances, can affect your home’s heating systems, and may facilitate mold contamination that can pose adverse health risks to your family.
Water damage prevention and preparedness is a cost-effective solution.