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Avoiding property damage from frozen pipes - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Avoiding property damage from frozen pipes

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Because of the freezing temperatures cities and residents across Texas may experience trouble with water service to begin 2018.

Frozen pipes aren’t only a frustrating start to the new year, but can cause significant damage to your home and property if not quickly and properly addressed.

Homes in warmer climates are usually at greater risk because pipes often run through uninsulated or under-insulated attics or crawl spaces.  When temperatures in southern climates dip below 20 degrees, pipes can freeze and burst. 

A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, ruining floors, furniture, damage to personal items and serious structural damage.

According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, the average insurance claim related to frozen-pipe damage is $5,000.

Main Causes

  • Quick Drops in Temperature
  • Poor Insulation
  • Thermostats set too low

Prevention Tips:

  • A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight.
  • Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you're asleep, but further drops in the temperature—more common overnight—could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.

If Your Pipes Freeze:

  • Don’t panic.  Frozen pipes don’t mean they have or will burst.
  • Turn on faucets.  If nothing comes out, leave them on and call a plumber.
  • Don’t try to thaw a pipe with a torch or open flame.
  • You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe using a hire dryer; start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible.  (But do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water.)
  • 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.

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