February 10, 2014 - When the water in a pipe freezes, it can explode and cause significant damage to the interior of your home. Pipes that run along exterior walls and in attics and crawl spaces are the most vulnerable.
To keep your pipes free of ice and freezing water, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) recommends the following:
- Keep kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
- Keep the house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing. Some home security systems will alert you if the temperature in your home drops below 55 degrees.
- Place insulation sleeves over exposed pipes to slow heat transfer.
- Consider providing a reliable back-up power source, such as a generator, to ensure continuous power.
- Drain pipes if your house will be unattended during cold periods.
- Recessed light fixtures in the ceiling below open areas, such as attic space, should be insulated to prevent the release of heat into the attic.
- Ensure proper seals are on doors and windows.
- Shut off the water to the exterior water bib on the inside.
If your pipes freeze, time is of the essence. Know how to shut off the water. The more quickly you can turn off the water or direct your plumber to the problem, the better chance you have to prevent pipes from bursting.