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Frozen and Burst Pipes; A Wintertime Menace Best Avoided

When wintery and below freezing weather impacts our lives, frozen and burst pipes are a menace. Anyone who owns, leases or rents property needs to prepare as a water damage emergency is the last thing you want to deal with in the dead of the night.

Water damage cleanup mistakes can bring unwanted health risks, insects and costs.

I’m Chris Parks with North Star Services, LLC and I’m going to tell you how to protect your pipes from freezing, plus steps to take if your pipes do freeze or burst.

Burst Pipes Will CO$T You

When temperatures dip below freezing, water pipes become vulnerable to freezing water. Water expands when frozen, leading to broken pipes that leave behind significant and costly damage. In fact, burst pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage during frigid weather and can cause thousands in water damage.

Water damage (including damage from freezing) is one of the most common and most costly types of homeowners insurance claims. Every year, about one in 50 homeowners will file a water damage or freezing claim, accounting for almost 24 percent of all homeowners insurance claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The average cost of a water damage or freezing claim is about $10,900.

Before Pipes Freeze

Here’s what to do before expected freezing temperatures to protect interior and exterior pipes:

  • Insulate all exposed water lines or pipes in unheated areas

  • Exposed irrigation systems should be removed or insulated

  • Exposed water lines (like an outside shower) should be protected

  • Outside pipes and faucets should be isolated and drained

  • Close inside valves and drainpipes leading to outside faucets

  • Pour a small amount of RV or marine — not standard automotive — antifreeze into drains and toilets that may be subject to freezing.

  • To avoid iced-over sidewalks, turn off irrigation systems

  • To allow warm air to circulate near interior pipes, open cabinets near faucets

  • At bare minimum, allow one faucet — the one farthest from the main water shut off valve — to slowly drip cold water

  • Close doors and windows tightly

Take precautions to avoid frozen or burst pipes especially when there's a freeze warning.

Pipes Are Frozen. Now What?

When a faucet has been exposed to cold temperatures and only produces a trickle of water, it could be frozen. If water lines do freeze, there are several steps to take to mitigate potential damage.

Let’s review several tips on what to do when a pipe freezes:

  • Do not apply excessive heat to frozen pipes

  • Open cabinets to allow warm air to circulate near frozen pipes

  • Use towels soaked in warm water to wrap around frozen pipes

  • Use a hair dryer set on a low setting

  • If using an electric heater or heat tape, devices at risk of coming into contact with water should be powered through a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

  • If problems persist, contact your local, licensed water damage expert

Frozen pipes are a menace. Avoid them at all costs.

Portable Heaters and Frozen Pipes

Though it’s tempting to do so, avoid using portable heaters for an extended period of time. Use of portable heaters should be limited and unplugged when not in use. Keep heaters at least three feet away from any flammable materials.

Tips for Cleanup IF Water Damage Does Occur

If your pipes do burst, call your local, licensed water damage expert, (such as North Star Services, LLC in Middle Tennessee and Nashville) immediately for mitigation services. IICRC Certified Firms have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to locate water wherever it goes, remove the excess and dry your structure to industry standards. Timing is everything. I recommend several tips until they reach you:

Hiring a licensed and certified IICRC restoration and remediation company is the best way to treat and navigate all water damage issues.

  • Shut off the main water valve, if practical, and call a plumber to fix the leak

  • Mop up standing water on flooring surfaces to prevent slip and fall hazards. This also helps prevent mold growth

  • Wet clothing usually is salvageable. A 10‐minute wash cycle in detergent and hot water should sanitize washable clothing

  • Dry out before you rebuild. Professional water restorers have a variety of instruments to determine when a building is dry. Drying should not stop until wood or drywall moisture content falls below 16 percent. Normal moisture content is around 10 percent in most areas of the country

Avoid the mistakes of improper water damage treatment.

Request A Free Inspection Today

As a certified IICRC restoration and remediation company in Nashville, Berry Hill & throughout Middle Tennessee, North Star Services, LLC uses state-of-the-art equipment to inspect and treat both commercial and residential properties. We provide free mold and other restoration inspections. And, are available 24/7, 365 days a year for emergencies such as water damage, fire damage, trauma cleanup, flood and storm damage and more. Contact us at 629-221-0638 or request a free estimate now.

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