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Cold Weather – Protect Your Pipes

Source: Allen Insurance & Financial

Cold Weather is Back: Protect the Pipes in Your House

By Allen Insurance and Financial | Feb 09, 2011

Often, interior damage occurs when water pipes freeze and break. Sometimes this is hard to avoid, especially when pipes concealed within walls are affected by extreme cold. Still, you can take steps to reduce the likelihood that exposed pipes will turn your basement into an ice palace.

Shut off the water supply to outside faucets before winter arrives. Detach garden hoses. After you turn off the water supply, open the faucets to drain any water out of the pipe, then turn them off again. If you don’t have shut-off valves – usually located in the basement along the water pipe that leads to the outside faucets – contact a plumber to install shut-offs.

Exposed water pipes in uninsulated areas can be protected by hanging a 100-watt light bulb near the pipe to warm it, or covering pipes with insulation tubes or wrap.

If exposed pipes freeze – sometimes you can see the telltale bulge in the pipe – you can thaw them out with electrical heating tape, available from most hardware stores, or by warming them gradually with a hair dryer. You can also wrap them with several layers of newspaper, tied with string, to keep frozen pipes from breaking. Do not try to thaw pipes with a torch. The extreme heat can change the water in the pipe to steam and burst the pipe.

If a frozen pipe does break, shut off your home water supply. Get to know where the inside shut-off valves are located before an emergency. Contact a plumber for repairs, and advise your insurance agent of any significant water damage to walls, floors, carpet and furniture.

These tips, from the Hanover Insurance Company, are posted here by Allen Insurance and Financial, the employee-owned company serving businesses and families in Maine and around the world with insurance and financial planning services from offices in Rockland, Camden, Southwest Harbor and Saco.