When you’re insured with us at the Dean Ballenger Agency, know that we take pride in educating our clients about coverage.  We walk through examples when we go over quotes over the phone, but what about after you’ve been with us for awhile. It’s time for a refresher on what some of your policy covers.

Frozen pipes are that big invisible threat, they could be causing substantial damage in your home, and you won’t necessarily know until the weather starts to warm up. At that time the damage can be bigger and definitely more costly. There is good news though, we have learned some tips and advice to help limit this from not a issue at your house.

Don’t forget your “pipes” outside too.

What Pipes Should I be most concern about?

Pipes in your house are more protected than the ones that are outside. While it’s easy for me to remember the inside pipes because my wife is always reminding me to let the water drip when its really cold outside. The outside pipes are sometimes “out of sight and out of mind”.

On one of our proudest days and moments, it happened to us. The big event was about to happen, guest would be arriving within hours and everything was done but washing off the deck. I turned on the outside faucet to find out it has very little pressure. I stepped inside the house and ask my wife, Laurie, what water she had inside running because I needed more pressure. She said nothing. I return outside to try and finish.

Just a couple of minutes later, I hear my wife yelling shut it off, the basement is filling up with water. We quickly found ourselves in the basement hustling to move things off the floor and our Shop-Vac in  hand. I am the insurance agent and I tell everyone how to protect their homes. Yet, here I was on a day that was supposed to be all about my son was quickly becoming all about the water. So I am reminding you to take that one last walk around the outside of your home and think about some of the items outside your home. Some of these come with pipes that you may not even consider when thinking about protecting your pipes against freezing.  Don’t let them be “out of sight and out of mind” for you too.

Do you have pipes like these in or around your home:
    • Outdoor hose hookups and faucets.
    • Swimming pool supply lines.
    • Lawn sprinkler lines.
    • Water pipes in unheated, interior locations such as basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages and kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
    • Pipes running against exterior walls with little or no insulation.
    • Keep garage doors closed to help protect water pipes located in the garage.
    • (The next two are friendly tip from my wife) Open the doors on cabinets where plumbing is located. This can help allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes.
  • For pipes that are at risk of freezing (both hot and cold water pipes), let water drip from faucets.

Why is a Frozen Pipe a Concern?

I’m sure at one point in time we all have fallen victim to something exploding in our freezer.  We put it in there to just chill it and forget about it until the morning. When water begins to freeze, it expands and it doesn’t matter what type of container/pipe it is in. Both plastic and metal pipes will burst due to the added pressure put on the pipes. It doesn’t matter the strength of the material used for the piping, but exertion of the expanding frozen water is substantially more.  Even worse like us you may not know that the burst happened until you turn the water back on.

What Do You Do if You Have a Frozen Pipe?

If you have a leak, do what we did and turn the water off immediately to prevent more water from coming into the house and causing greater damage. Then call a licensed plumber to make repairs.The cause of the damage must be repaired before the the final repairs can be done. If your home is heated by an older steam heating system, consult with your heating professional to determine if it is safe to continue to run the heating system with the water supply turned off for your particular heating system.

Being Proactive:

The temperatures are dropping, the snowbirds are flying south, and you may find yourself traveling to visit family over the holiday season.  Is your home prepped for these times you are away? Water can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time.

If you know you are going to be gone for awhile here are somethings you can do:
    •        Shut off the water.
    •        If going to be gone for an extended time drain the water heater.
    •        Make sure the thermostat is at least 55 degrees. – If your home would lose power you home needs the extra heat to stay above freezing.
  •        Ask a neighbor to keep an eye out on your place.

Questions about your coverage? Or just questions in general?  Let us know, we are here to help!