Jackson – The average cost per claim – about $15,000 – related to State Farm reports. from frozen pipes increased 33 percent between 2007 and 2008,
As Old Man Winter makes his way across the country it’s important to take a few minutes to assess pipe vulnerability. Freezing temperatures could cause pipes to freeze and burst, destroying floors, furniture, appliances and treasured family heirlooms.
“A small crack in a pipe can cause extensive damage,” says spokesman Roszell Gadson.
“In most cases, water losses can be avoided by taking a few simple precautions. Spending a few minutes to protect your pipes could save you time and expense down the road,” he says.
Homeowners can reduce the chance their pipes will freeze by insulating pipes in unheated areas and those that run along outside walls, floors and ceilings. Disconnect outside garden hoses, and seal foundation cracks that let arctic air freeze pipes in crawlspaces.
The following steps can also prove valuable:
- Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to piping under sinks and vanities near exterior walls.
- Run a small trickle of water from hot and cold faucets during extreme cold.
- Keep exterior doors to unheated spaces closed as much as possible during winter months.
- If you plan to be away for an extended period have the water system professionally drained.
- If you are taking a short trip, ask a neighbor to check the house regularly during severe cold spells. Discovering a burst pipe or water leak quickly can prevent excessive damage.
- Install a whole house water leak detection system. For a list of manufacturers visit: http://www.statefarm.com/learning/loss_prevent/learning_loss_water_leak_det_system.asp
- If you own a business that will be unoccupied for more than 24 hours at a time make arrangements to have the building inspected once a day during winter. Quickly discovering a burst pipe or water leak can prevent excessive damage.