Frozen pipes aren’t just an inconvenience. They can cause extensive, expensive water damage to your home or business and they occur far too often.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, about 2 out of every 100 policyholders submit a claim for frozen pipe damage. The average cost of a claim is $7,479, but don’t let that fool you. Some policyholders pay considerably more.
Homeowner’s insurance and business insurance policies should offer some protection, providing you perform regular maintenance. If the insurer concludes a frozen pipe was due to negligence, they may not pay a claim.
Consequently, it is up to you to do what you can to minimize frozen pipe risk and limit property damage. Here’s how.
Locate Main Shut-Off Valve
Everyone should know where the main shut off valve is in their home or business location. Pipes can freeze despite your best efforts, but shutting off the water quickly can limit damage.
Insulate Pipes in Unheated Areas
Apply pipe sleeves, heat tape, or a heat cable to pipes in unheated interior spaces such as basements, crawl spaces, attics, and garages. Adding insulation is an inexpensive solution that could save you inconvenience and money down the road.
Don’t forget pipes running through kitchen or bathroom cabinets to exterior walls. If you can’t insulate, open cabinet doors and allow warm air to flow inside when the temperatures plummet.
If insulation doesn’t solve the issue of a recurring freeze, consider rerouting the pipe elsewhere.
Pipes hold water that expands when it freezes. Drain the water from sprinkler and pool supply lines, and close the inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Drain outside faucets and hoses and store the hoses until warm weather returns.
Maintain Sufficient Heat
No one wants to spend unnecessary money on heating bills, but don’t turn the thermostat down too low. Maintain a temperature of at least 55° F, even in the evening or if you’re not going to be in the building.
Close gaps that cause heat loss and improve insulation in areas such as the attic, walls, and basement so it’s easier to reach the minimum require temperature and keep it there.
Let Water Drip
If it gets very cold, consider leaving faucets slightly open so water can drip. Moving water is less likely to freeze.
Thaw Frozen Pipes
Not all frozen pipes burst, but you certainly don’t want to ignore them. Usually, you’ll turn on a faucet and discover only a trickle of water comes out. Test all faucets if one’s frozen. Others might be frozen too.
Leave the faucet open and run the water to see if it melts the ice in the pipe. If that doesn’t work, heat the area with a heating pad, hair dryer, or nearby space heater. Ensure no combustible materials are in the vicinity and never use an open flame. If you can’t thaw the pipe, you’ll need a plumber.
Review Insurance Coverage
Regularly review your insurance policy with an independent insurance agency like ours to ensure you have sufficient coverage. We can realign your policy with your needs and adjust it for any property appreciation, content additions, or upgrades.