Maintaining pipe health and you and your home’s well-being

It’s one of many homeowners’ nightmares—frozen pipes. With temperatures plummeting across the country, the Pacific Northwest could be due for its own cold snap. Freezing nights may mean frozen pipes, which themselves are a pain. But it’s when frozen pipes burst that the real headache begins. The water damage can result in costly reconstruction projects, anything from replacing drywall to ceilings (never mind damaged furniture or appliances). Luckily, the basics of frozen pipe prevention are simple even for the inexperienced handyman. Some tools, supplies from the hardware store, and a little dexterity are all you need to help avoid pipes freezing, cracking, or bursting:

·         Know which pipes in your home are most likely to freeze. Pipes along exterior walls, crawlspaces, garages, and basements are especially susceptible, as well as the main water pipe running into your home. And remember, both hot water and cold water pipes can (and do) freeze.

·         Make sure all pipes are properly insulated. This can be managed with pipe insulators or electric heating tape. They help pipes maintain warmth and keep water running through them. Pipes against any exterior walls, as well as the piping where the water supply enters the home, should have extra insulation as they tend to freeze easier and faster.

·         If temperatures plunge, leave faucets on in several areas of your home. Just slightly more than a heavy drip will suffice. It’s harder for pipes to freeze if water flows freely through them, and no part of your home will be cut off from the water supply with the constant stream.

·         When your home loses heat, the risk of pipes freezing rises, so drain water pipes to avert any mishaps. Using the main valve, turn off the home’s water supply and run all faucets and showers until water ceases flowing. The same can be done for pipes feeding exterior water spigots by shutting off the valve supplying outdoor water and opening and draining spigots.

·         Technological devices can be used to monitor your home and its temperature. Freeze alarms and temperature monitors are programmable to phone you if power goes out in your home or the temperature falls below freezing. If you’re away from home for a period of time, this can be a great option.

·         Another more intricate device, RedyTemp uses an adjustable temperature control to regularly circulate water through pipes to prevent freezing. You adjust the temperature dial—which ranges from 45°F-115°F—to suit the freeze threat conditions.

Though these ideas are excellent preventative measures, we can’t prepare for everything. At Homer Smith Insurance, we want to help with whatever life throws your way, frozen pipes and all. To review your current coverage, or to receive a free quote, visit our website, email, or call us directly at 888-433-0031. We are an independent insurance agency licensed in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona.

Erin Stork, Homer Smith Insurance

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