Winter in New England can be a brutal experience as a homeowner. Heavy snowfall, cold temperatures, and harsh winds can be detrimental to a person’s home, especially in a place like New England where the weather patterns are strangely unpredictable. From Nor’easters to the rapid freezing and thawing that occurs due to variable temperatures in the northeast, you can easily understand that losses like wind damage, frozen pipes, and floods are extremely common.
Frozen pipes can specifically cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage depending on the extent of it. Frozen water in pipes can cause pipes to burst due to the water pressure buildup behind the ice blockage. Pipes that are located in areas more susceptible to freezing temperatures, such as attics, basements, and outside walls, are more likely to freeze and burst. All pipes should be well insulated, and any damaged pipes should be replaced. Other things you can do to prevent frozen pipes are:
- Keep the house warm – interior temperatures should be set to at least 60 degrees.
- Seal cracks in outside walls and foundations to prevent cold air penetration.
- Wrap pipes that are more exposed to cold temperatures with heating tape or insulation.
- Keep cabinet doors open during very cold weather to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
- Open water faucets to allow a slow trickle of water, which keeps the water flowing through the lines and prevents freezing. Make sure the sink drains are open.
- Know where the main water shut off valve is located and maintain clear access to it so that the water can be shut off if freezing to pipes does occur. Water should be shut off at once if pipes have frozen and a plumber should be called immediately. The more quickly you take action, the better chance you have to prevent your pipes from bursting and causing damage to your home. Never try to thaw a pipe with a blowtorch or other open flame device yourself.
- If you plan to leave your home for an extended period, shut off the water and drain the pipes. Alternatively, you can also install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system.
- Consider installing a low temperature alarm/water shut-off device (system may be eligible for a discount on a homeowners insurance policy).