“There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.”
Or so they say in Norway.
But in the US, some may disagree. Arctic air continues to blast through the country to an unprecedented extent.
Southern states have been frozen in ways they are not prepared to handle. Those of us who live in the Northwest may be surprised to learn that if you lived in Texas, you wouldn’t be able to buy an ice scraper for your car.
Of course, the damage that winter storms can cause is nothing to laugh at. In February 2021, a winter storm in Texas claimed the lives of over 200 people and caused up to $130 billion in damage.
It turns out there is bad weather. If you’re not prepared, a winter storm can cause damage to your business and property that may be hard to recover from.
One overlooked risk factor you should be aware of is the potential damage that frozen water pipes can cause.
Do You Know Where the Water Pipes are Located?
It’s essential that you do. Water pipes run throughout the entirety of most homes and businesses. They often run along walls, under floors/on ceilings, are tucked between studs, and can be covered by sheetrock.
Water enters a building through a “water main.” From there, the water can be connected to a water heater, a filtration system, or other mechanical systems.
From there, multiple water lines run throughout a building to provide water wherever needed. Any place there is a bathroom, sink, dishwasher, or any other device supplied by water – you will find a water pipe.
Water pipes running through the interior of a building have less of a chance of freezing due to the heat throughout the space.
However, if they burst, all the damage will be interior.
When water pipes run on the exterior walls of a building, it increases the chances of them freezing.
If you are unsure where the water pipes are located in your home or office building, you can take a few steps to find them.
- In an open/unfinished area, trace the pipes from either the water main or any source that utilizes running water
- In a finished area, you may need to obtain one of the following tools:
- Use a wall scanner.
- Use a stud finder to detect pipes while water is running through them.
- Use a borescope camera that links with your smartphone.
- Run water and use a stethoscope to locate pipes by sound.
Some of these steps will cost more than others. But the investment will be modest compared to the cost and inconvenience of having your pipes burst.
Once you’ve located your water pipes, you can take steps to help prevent freezing.
How to Help Your Water Pipes from Freezing
Our providers at Philadelphia Insurance Companies provide the following tips to help prevent your water pipes from freezing.
They recommend you HEAT your pipes:
Ensure all building areas that contain water lines are heated. You can also insulate the water pipes directly.
Adding insulation to the building itself will not only help your water lines, but it will also help your heating and cooling bills!
Test your building’s heating system. If your furnace isn’t functioning correctly, you’ll have more to worry about than bursting pipes!
Beyond this, consider other areas of efficiency in your building. Look for drafty windows, unsealed exterior gaps, and the state of your insulation.
Since water pipes are often hidden, they don’t receive the same heating benefits as the rest of the facility. Opening the doors under a sink will help expose the pipes to the room’s heating.
You can also leave the water running at a very slow drip. This step won’t prevent your pipes from freezing.
It will, however, alleviate the pressure built up in the pipes and minimize the damage a burst pipe may cause.
You can install water flow and temperature monitors to keep an eye on the health of your water pipes. Some of the available monitoring devices have smart technology capabilities.
This will allow you to monitor your pipes from your phone without needing to physically check every line in person.
What Should you do if Your Pipes Freeze?
Even with the best defenses and preparation, unfortunate situations can still happen. That’s why we’re here.
Roto-Rooter provides the following five steps:
- Shut-off the water main leading into the structure and open (not wide open, just open) any faucets connected to the pipe. This will reduce pressure on the frozen pipes and minimize flooding if the pipes burst. This is particularly important if you are going to be away from home.
- If the frozen pipe is exposed and visible, use a hair dryer or space heater to thaw the ice blockage. Do not use an open flame and keep space heaters far enough away from walls and flammable materials to avoid fire risk!
- Examine exposed pipes for leaks. Even with the water main turned off, there will be enough pressure to reveal leaks once the pipe has thawed.
- Contact a professional plumber equipped with pipe-thawing equipment to get your pipes flowing again and if necessary, make repairs to damaged pipes.
- Even if no leaks are found, a plumber should examine pipes that experienced a hard freeze. Some pipes may need to be replaced since the material has experienced stretching and fatigue, putting the pipes at risk for future failure.
We would add a sixth step. Contact your insurance agent! Your home or business is insured so that you won’t need to sort through messes like this alone when things like this happen.
Get the Coverage you Need Today!
We want to see you thrive. Even in bad weather. Bursting pipes don’t have to burst your dreams. You can recover. We can help.
With over 30 years of experience in a variety of states, seasons, and areas of insurance, we can ensure you get the coverage you need.
Reach out today to receive a free quote. Our team of friendly experts will listen to your needs and help you obtain the coverages you need so you can live your best life.