The Peril of the Pipes
If you’ve ever wrestled to get your cubes out of an ice cube tray, you’re no stranger to the science of frozen water. As water freezes, it expands, filling and sometimes bursting through, its container—which in this time of year can cause pipe damage from cold temperatures.
Water pipes that are outside, or that run along uninsulated places inside—like your basement, attic, or through certain cabinets—are exposed to the potential of the stagnant water inside. When temperatures drop, the water freezes and becomes ice, expanding and potentially cracking or bursting your pipes.
Winterizing your pipes can range in expense depending on where you live and how cold it gets. For our typically mild winters Kansas and Missouri, foam insulation, like miniature pool noodles, can get the job done for relatively low costs. However, if you’re up against the bitterly cold temps like we had this week, you may want to look into having a professional insulate the walls around your pipes.
On the extremely cold nights, leave your water running, even only at a drip. Keep your heater running at the same temperature all day and night, because a slightly higher heating bill will be preferable to a costly pipe repair. As well, keep cabinet doors open to keep heat circulating through. Check here for more tips on keeping the house warm.
Once you locate a frozen pipe, if you’re able, warm the pipe with a heat gun or hair dryer. Don’t use a flame, however, under any circumstance. If you cannot locate or access the source of the freeze, make sure you call a professional plumber.
Frozen pipes are one of the most common homeowners claims made in the US each year. Burst pipes—or rather, the water damage from those pipes—can be costly. While some homeowners insurance policies will cover the “sudden and accidental” damage that a burst pipe leaves behind, the thing that homeowners insurance may not cover is the pipe itself. Water damage coverage differs by insurance carrier and by situation.
If you have questions on how to make sure you’re covered this winter, check out this recent article or contact your CommunityAmerica insurance advisor.