Water pipes can crack and burst as it gets colder and temperatures drop to freezing (32 degrees or below). Particularly in properties with little or no insulation pipes are more likely to freeze and break. A small crack in a pipe can spill 250 gallons of water per day and destroy floors, walls, appliances, furniture and precious or personal items before the leak is fixed.
Did you know a quarter of a million properties experience water claims as a result of freezing pipes and the average claim for burst pipes is $10,000? (according to Hull&Co)
• If the building is vacant or closed for the season, make sure the property manager not only turns the heat up but also walks through the entire building, including every unit, several times a day – not only during the freeze event but several days thereafter. Prompt discovery of burst pipes will reduce the severity of a claim.
• Occasionally have water trickle out of your pipes to keep the water moving.
• Make sure the property manager knows the location of the main water turn off valve to the building.
• Turn off water supply on all outside faucets. If possible, open the valves, allowing the air and water to escape and avoid expanding within the pipes.
• Keep interior doors open. Pipes can often be found in cabinets. Keep these doors open so the heat from house reach the pipes to keep them warm as well.
• Wrap pipes nearest exterior walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or with heating tape. This can prevent freezing, especially for interior pipes that run along outside walls.
• Heat the basement and consider weather sealing windows.
• Vacant or closed for the season locations that are fully winterized need to be checked by the owners and/or property manager.
• Hire a qualified plumber who can shut-off the water supply to your property and blow air through all the pipes with an air compressor. Note: Pouring anti-freeze in drains and toilets is not enough.
• Turn off your sprinkler system and blow compressed air through the irrigation lines to drain the water.
In case your pipes burst, make sure you know where the water shut-off valve is and how to use. If there is a leak turn off the water supply at the main shut-off valve and contact a plumber.
Every winter season, the pipes in your property are at risk of damage from freezing conditions. This disaster is largely preventable so please be sure to utilize these useful tips. Nobody wants to have to deal with burst water pipes. Let’s be proactive in preventing those claims.
Its not only pipes you have to worry about- 13 ways to winterize your property.
Thank you to Interstate Insurance for many of these tips!