January in Texas can be unpredictable, with temperatures sometimes dipping well below freezing for many days at a time. A common claim that homeowners insurance companies see during this time is frozen pipes and resulting water damage. Thankfully, avoiding the damage and inconvenience of frozen pipes is easy to do. Home owners insurance agencies offer the following tips to prevent frozen pipes and protect a home from winter water damage over the winter.
What Happens When Water Pipes Freeze?
Water that freezes inside water lines expands and can burst the pipe as it does. Once the temperature increases enough that the ice inside the pipes melts, cracked and broken pipes leak inside the home. Cracked and burst pipes are a leading cause of homeowners insurance claims made in the winter, as property owners begin to find the leaks caused by cracked pipes.
Insulate Exposed Pipes
Pipes that are exposed to cold air are the ones most likely to freeze, potentially cracking and bursting as a result. Exposed pipes in an unheated basement or crawlspace or passing through an attic should all be insulated. Insulation can be done quite easily and inexpensively using materials found at any local hardware store. The most common ways to insulate water lines include covering them with foam sleeves or wrapping them with heat tape made specifically for this purpose.
Prepare External Water Lines
Exterior water lines and faucets are most likely to burst in winter when these outlets are not properly prepared for colder temperatures. The goal is to avoid trapping water in the line at the faucet, which can then freeze, expand, and break, causing damage that could mean having to file a claim with the home owners insurance company.
Prevent any water from being trapped in the water line by disconnecting hoses before the temperature goes below freezing, turning off the water at the main feed, and then keeping the exterior faucet open all winter long. If any water should leak from the feed, it will just run out of the faucet as opposed to backing up and potentially causing a burst pipe.
Keep The House Warm Enough
Along with insulating any exposed pipes and preparing external faucets for the cold weather, keeping the house warm enough is also important in the prevention of frozen pipes. Avoid letting the temperature in the home get below 50 degrees, even if people are away or the house is vacant. Doing so will greatly reduce the chance that any pipes inside the home could freeze and cause damage that requires filing a claim with home owners insurance.
These three simple tips are all that is necessary to prevent the costly damage that can occur when the pipes inside a house freeze. Rather than having to deal with belongings that are ruined and having to file a claim with your homeowners insurance company to get repairs done, homeowners can avoid the issue altogether with a little bit of wintertime preparation. To learn more about winterizing a home to avoid increased bills and unnecessary repairs, ask a home owners insurance company for their best advice!