Thursday, January 17, 2019

Beware of Frozen Pipes around the House This Winter

With another blast of cold temperatures and more snow set to hit the state later this week, frozen pipes have the potential to be an issue this winter.
A quarter-million families across the U.S. suffer from frozen pipe damage each winter. According to 2017 data, State Farm® paid more claims in Illinois (348) for winter water losses (including frozen pipes and ice dams) than any other state in the U.S. The total pay-out for Illinois claims in 2017 reached nearly $10,000,000, with the average cost per claim being just under $29,000.
State Farm provides the following tips to prevent frozen pipes from happening during the winter months:
  • When temperatures drop:
  • Insulate pipes that run along outside walls, floors and ceilings in your home’s crawl spaces and attic. Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing.
  • Disconnect outside garden hoses and, if possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
  • Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located.
  • A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
  • Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
  • Before you travel:
  • Set the thermostat in your house no lower than 55°F (12°C).
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it's warm enough to prevent freezing.
  • Shut off and drain the water system.
  • If you experience frozen pipes:
  • If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
  • Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water to avoid electrocution.
  • Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire hazard.
  • You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe using a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
  • If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it.

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