How to protect your pipes from freezing

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    We should always be protecting our pipes either on hot or freezing temperatures. Always check and double check whatever the weather is.

    Freezing temperatures are a water pipe’s nemesis, which is why I always tell my clients: Ice expands, pipes don’t. Every winter some 250,000 families in the United States see at least one room in their home damaged by water pipes freezing and breaking, according to State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.

    As freezing water expands, it causes the pressure inside the pipes to increase, often resulting in a pipe break. A pipe will not usually burst at the frozen part, but somewhere between the freeze and the faucet.

    The ice blockage can cause thousands of pounds of water pressure to build up. Just one pipe burst can unleash gallons of water to run behind walls and ceilings, causing thousands of dollars in damage to your house and personal items. The good news is that many home insurance policies will cover the damage — provided you can prove that you took measures to prevent the pipe from freezing. For example, many policies say there is coverage if you can show that you either shut off the water supply/drained your system or kept your home heated when it was unoccupied.

    Insurance Coverage for burst pipes usually includes:

     Demo work to access the broken pipe, such as opening up a wall or ceiling

     Necessary repairs or replacement for any damaged property, such as drying out flooded carpets or replacing destroyed furniture, hardwood, or appliances.

     Repair costs to the pipes, walls, and structure

    Can frozen pipes be prevented?

    When I was a kid and we experienced extreme cold snaps, my mom would open the cabinet doors under the kitchen sink to expose the pipes to more heat and leave our faucets dripping to prevent the pipes from freezing.

    I always thought that leaving the water dripping prevented the pipes from freezing, but that’s not exactly correct. It’s not the small flow of water that prevents freezing; a dripping faucet relieves pressure buildup in the water pipes to prevent them from bursting as a result of ice buildup. The dripping faucet can help slow freezing, but the pipes can still freeze.

    Prevention

    To avoid frozen pipes, homeowners should have adequate insulation and seal air leaks near pipes that run along outside walls, floor joists, and in crawl spaces. Disconnecting garden hoses, wrapping exposed pipes with insulating sleeves, and sealing foundation cracks that let in Arctic air all help. Below are eight tips to prevent frozen pipes:

    1. Install anti-freeze faucets on your exterior

    These faucets have a long stem that extends through the house wall and into the warmer section of the house. Water doesn’t stand in the portion of the pipe or faucet outside the wall, where it could freeze.

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