You may have already prepared for the winter weather by sealing gaps along doors and window frames or adding extra insulation to cut down on energy costs. One household item to double check are the pipes in and around your home. Frozen pipes are a wintertime nightmare for homeowners, and they can burst without warning, leading to sudden flooding and damage throughout the home.
Recent storms have brought heavy rain, snow, and colder temperatures to much of the western part of the country. You may have already prepared for the winter weather by sealing gaps along doors and window frames or adding extra insulation to cut down on energy costs. One household item to double check are the pipes in and around your home. Frozen pipes are a wintertime nightmare for homeowners, and they can burst without warning, leading to sudden flooding and damage throughout the home.
“One of the best ways to winter-proof your home is through regular, seasonal maintenance and upkeep,” said Christopher O’Rourke, Mercury Insurance vice president of property claims.
A burst pipe, especially during winter weather, is something no homeowner wants to deal with. It’s never too late to come up with a winter maintenance plan to protect the pipes around your home that can help prevent damage that would require an insurance claim.
O’Rourke recommends the following basic maintenance tips to help keep your pipes from freezing:
- Ensure that there is proper insulation around your home, especially where pipes are located.
- Insulate any unprotected pipes (using pipe sleeves can streamline the process) and avoid any cracks in the insulation.
- Use appropriate thermostat-controlled heat cables to further protect your pipes.
- Locate where the main water shutoff is and know how to operate it, in case of an emergency.
- Disconnect hoses from exterior faucets and completely drain them of water.
- If the exterior faucets have cut-off valves, close them and drain the faucets. Remember to wrap them in towels or socks for added insulation.
- Maintain thermostat temperature above 55 degrees if you’ll be away from home for several days.
If freezing temperatures catch you off guard, take these specific steps in the event you need to unfreeze your pipes:
- First, open the faucet that the pipe is connected to. This will relieve pressure within the pipe and allow any remaining water to flow through.
- Once the pipe is clear, you can apply heat to the frozen pipe using a heat gun or hair dryer. It will be easier to start warming the pipe near the faucet then working towards the coldest section of the pipe.
- If accessing the pipe is difficult, hire a plumber for assistance.
It’s important to conduct routine checks on pipes in and around your home throughout the year to protect your home from potential water damage.
Last modified: January 3, 2022