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Winter Water Damage Prevention

Colder weather means snow, ice, and frozen pipes, One thing to keep an eye on once temperatures reach the freezing point is your exposed pipes and water lines. As freezing water expands into ice, the pressure can compromise the integrity of the pipe and pipe fittings, which often lead to cracked or burst pipes resulting in costly property damage. Here are a few helpful tips for preventing this type of loss.

Prevent frozen pipes and water damage:

  • First, identify areas of concern where water pipes are being exposed to cold temperatures.
  • Keep exposed pipes warm by wrapping them with UL-endorsed heat tapes that have built-in thermostat. Follow manufacturer’s instructions upon installation and whether or not additional insulation can be placed over the heat tape.
  • Insulate exposed water pipes from cold moving air using foam rubber insulation designed for pipes. Keep the foam dry as you insulate and check that there are no gaps between the pipe and the insulation. Secure corners of pipes with duct tape to cover any gaps. Insulation alone won’t prevent freezing, but will slow down the transfer rate of heat to cold.
  • Utilize UL-endorsed heat tapes for drain lines that go to cold air space. Don’t overlook water lines in cold basements, attics, or crawl spaces.
  • When there is a loss of power on cold days, open the tap to allow the water to run at a slow and constant drip. First, start a slow drip on the hot side of the faucet, then a faster drip on the cold side faucet.
  • Fill any drafty gaps or cracks near water pipes with caulk to prevent cold air from coming inside.
  • Do not turn off the heat or open windows during cold days; maintain a room temperature of 55 degrees or higher.

This Insurance Awareness, Helpful Hints and Tips Publication is brought to you by: North Star Mutual Insurance Company.