It’s hard to think of a worse start to a winter day than turning on the faucet and … nothing. Maybe there’s a trickle of water, but it’s clear you have a frozen pipe. So, what now? Here are some smart tips to help you prevent or address what could easily become a very messy and expensive situation:
- See to your outdoor water lines: Before cold weather arrives, drain water sprinkler and swimming pool supply lines, and remove, drain and store outdoor hoses. If possible, close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs, and open the outside hose bibs for draining. Keep them open so any remaining water can expand without breaking the pipe. If you can’t shut off the water from the inside, pick up some foam faucet covers.
- Keep your home warm: Maintain an interior temperature of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even when you’re sleeping or not at home. Seal any drafts and leave interior doors open to help keep an even temperature from room to room. Your policy may not cover freezing of plumbing or heating systems or any appliances if the heat hasn’t been maintained in the home.
- Tend to those pipes: Leave the cabinet doors open in the kitchen and bathroom so your pipes aren’t shut off from the warm air. You can also insulate your pipes with sleeves, heat tape or heat cable. Insulation is especially important in unheated areas, such as your attic, basement, garage or crawl space, and for pipes running along exterior walls. During severe cold spells, you may want to leave all faucets, both hot and cold, running at a slight trickle.
- Call in a professional: Frozen water in your pipes can cause them to burst, meaning you’ll have a mess on your hands once that water unthaws. So, act quickly to shut off your main water supply, and call in a licensed plumber to see to the situation. When selecting a plumber or contractor, it’s important to find a company or individual that is local, licensed and insured. If possible, try to avoid signing a contract prior to filing a claim and speaking with your adjuster.
If you do have to call in a professional or spend any money on mitigating water damage, be sure to keep all receipts and notify your agent as soon as possible. Don’t agree to have any repairs started, other than cleaning up the sitting water, without talking to your agent.
Claims adjusters often need to inspect the damage before moving forward with a claim, so they need to be informed before the repairs begin. If there is an urgent need to begin repairs, try to take adequate photos or videos of the damage before any cleanup so you can provide evidence of the damage.
Finally, be sure to touch base with us at Integrity First Insurance to check whether you’re covered for the damage a frozen pipe may cause. We’re happy to answer all of your policy questions this winter, and beyond.
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