As if slippery footpaths and ice-covered cars aren't bad enough during the winter, you face another potential headache: ruined carpets and water damage to your ceilings and walls from leaks caused by bursting pipes. You can avoid the resulting aggravation and expense by taking several basic steps right now to prevent freezing pipes.
Frozen water in pipes can cause water pressure buildup between the ice blockage and the closed tap at the end of a pipe, which leads to pipes bursting at their weakest point. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are particularly vulnerable to freezing in extremely cold weather, where holes in your home's outside walls for television, cable or telephone lines, allow cold air to reach them.
To keep water in pipes from freezing, take the following steps:
- Exposed pipes shoud be fitted with insulation sleeves or wrapping to slow the heat transfer. The more insulation the better.
- Ensure that cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes are sealed with caulking.
- In your kitchen and bathrooms, keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
- Always allow for a slow trickle of water to flow through your taps and out the drain hole. This prevents your pipes from freezing over. Please pay particular attention to this if your house will be unattended during cold periods.
- Review your Home Insurance policy to make sure you have sufficient coverage in the event that your pipes burst.
- Report any property damage to your insurance company immediately and make temporary repairs to prevent further damage.
- For information about filing a Home Insurance claim after bursting pipes have caused damage to your home, click here