What you need to know about frozen water pipes

Since you entered school, you know the scientific formula: frozen water expands. Then imagine what happens in your home’s water pipes when it gets super cold. The tap water is frozen and as the water expands, the water pressure rises. More water pressure eventually leads to burst pipes, which of course causes the kind of water damage to your home that you don’t even want to think about.

Below are six truths about bursting water pipes and related damage to your home.

From the homeowners claim files:

• One of the main causes of material damage in winter is frozen pipes.

• 37 percent of the damage to frozen water pipes comes from the basement or lower level of the house.

• Property damage from burst water pipes is known to be very costly, often exceeding $5,000.

• The freezing point for water is thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit.

• In general, standard home insurance does not provide protection against damage as a result of a burst pipe.

For homeowners, landlords and tenants, beware of water pipes in places that are not heated. Places such as an attic, a crawl space or exterior walls that bear the full brunt of the winter wrath increase the risk of pipe bursts. While a plumber may be able to realign the pipes to warmer areas of the home, the job may not always be a viable undertaking.

So, here are other ideas you got from the insurance guys on how to minimize the associated risks.

Six ways to keep water pipes from bursting in cold weather

1. Place insulation around the pipes to prevent them from freezing.

2. Close the outer holes and those in the foundation of the structure with lime.

3. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets so that the heat of the house can circulate properly.

4. Run the water from the sink faucets slowly if it gets exceptionally cold.

5. If you go on vacation, don’t leave the heating low enough to cause the pipes to freeze.

6. Consider emptying your water system before going on vacation. To do this, close the main valve and open the water taps; turn off when the water stops flowing.

To find out if your home has the right coverage for your individual liability risks, you can have your policy reviewed by an experienced independent agency. By educating yourself about your auto, business, home and life insurance needs, you become your own insurance attorney.