By Rabih Hamawi
The pervasive deep freeze that has blanketed more than half of the U.S. is causing a lot of problems for property owners. As the water in pipes freezes, as much as 2,000 pounds of pressure is produced, seriously testing the tensile strength of water lines. With a burst pipe’s ability to release hundreds of gallons of water per hour, damages can amount to thousands of dollars.
At-risk pipes are those mainly in unheated parts of a building, exposed pipes, those in or along outside walls of a structure, pipes under a sink by an outside wall and any in unheated attics or crawl spaces.
To prevent pipes from freezing, here are some helpful tips that you may want to consider:
1. Open kitchen cabinets to circulate warm air around pipes;
2. Keep the thermostat set at the same temperature day and night, never let it drop below 55 degrees;
3. Seal wall cracks, paying extra attention to areas around utility lines;
4. Disconnect outdoor hoses and shut off valves supplying outdoor fixtures;
5. If supply lines run through a garage, make sure to keep the doors closed;
6. If you will be gone overnight during an extreme cold spell leave the heat on, but make sure to put the heat source in a safe place, where it cannot cause a fire; and
7. A burst pipe left unchecked for days can release hundreds of gallons of water. Make sure someone checks the home or the property on a regular basis – especially during extreme temperatures.
Homeowners, business owners and other property owners should contact their insurance agent (at least annually) to review their insurance policies and to confirm that any damage from frozen or burst pipes is covered.
Find out more helpful tips for home and business owners at www.hamawilaw.com
— Rabih Hamawi is an award-winning attorney and counselor. His practice focuses on representing business owners, homeowners, property owners and other insurance policyholders in fire, property damage and insurance-coverage disputes with insurance companies and in errors-and-omissions cases against insurance agents.