Cold Weather Concerns: Frozen Pipes

Cold weather can cause a lot of concerns for many homeowners. But one major concern, frozen pipes, can cost you a lot more than you think. Did you know one pipe bursting can release 4-8 GALLONS of water a minute? That can cause a lot of damage, and fast. In fact, the average cost of a claim for water damage related to ice averages about $11,000! So what causes pipes to freeze and burst, and how can you prevent them from freezing?

What Causes Pipes to Freeze (and/or burst)?

Any pipe in an unheated interior space is at risk of freezing. This can include pipes in your basement, attic, or garage. When the temperature drops, since these pipes are in unheated areas, the water can turn to ice. When ice forms in the pipe, it expands, which can then cause a rupture (and leak).

What to look for

If you’re concerned your pipes are at risk, there are some warning signs you can search for. Is your water pressure lower than normal? Ice in your pipes can prevent water flow and impact your water pressure. Do you see visible ice on your pipes? Ice may also be inside those pipes too. Is there a strange odor coming from your drains? This is also a potential sign of ice in your pipes.

What you Should Do?

If a pipe has already burst, turn off the water to your house. Once you’ve turned off the water, you can contact a professional to see how they can assist. We do not recommend that you handle the frozen or burst pipes yourself. This can cause damage to your plumbing or even cause an injury.

How to Prevent

So how can you help prevent your pipes from freezing? First, insulate your pipes. Winterize both hot and cold water pipes. Next, be sure to keep your thermostat constant. If you’re leaving for a few days, make sure you leave it on at least 60 Degrees F. If you let cold water drip from faucets supplied by exposed pipes, you can relieve pressure and keep the water flowing. Also, be sure to open your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to promote air circulation and allow warm air to get to your plumbing. Make sure your garage door (s) are closed, as this is often where supply lines are located.

Information Provided By: Bay State Insurance | Cambridge Mutual Fire Company | Merrimack Mutual Fire Insurance Company |

Facts & Stats: Homeowners and Renters Insurance | How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing,