Cold weather can freeze pipes, causing costly water damage at your home or business.
If you suspect you have a frozen pipe – you’ve turned on the faucet, but no water comes out – call a qualified plumber immediately. Shut off the main water valve, and leave the faucets open until repairs are made.
If a pipe has burst, take the necessary steps to prevent further damage, and contact your insurance agent to file a claim. Damage from burst water pipes is covered under many homeowner and commercial insurance policies, provided you have taken reasonable precautions as specified by your policy. You can prevent pipes from freezing by:
- Maintaining heat to assure temperatures stay above 40 degrees
- Repairing and sealing windows or doors that could allow cold air to reach indoors
- Sealing walls and attics to prevent airflow around pipe openings
- Increasing insulation wherever pipes run
- Taking special care to monitor water-based fire protection systems
- Allowing faucets to drip to help prevent freezing if water cannot be turned off and drained
Monitor buildings closely to make sure heating systems are operating. For example, if your commercial building or home is unoccupied for a weekend or other extended period, have someone check your property to ensure that the heating and plumbing systems are working properly. Some monitored alarm systems are capable of providing an alert via email or text when the temperature drops: a possible sign of heating system failure.
Additional tips to Prepare Your Property for Winter are available on our website.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers these tips for Winter Storms & Extreme Cold.
The FEMA Snow Load Safety Guidance flyer summarizes warning signs of overstress conditions during a snow event; key safety issues and risks a snow event poses to buildings; and what to do after a snow event.
This loss control information is advisory only. The authors assume no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article. Contact your local, independent insurance agent for coverage advice and policy service.