Three Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes in your Home this Winter
Posted by Pardridge Insurance Agency, Inc. on
Snow and sub-freezing temperatures will be returning to the Midwest. A deep freeze could lead to frozen pipes and water damage in your home. Pardridge Insurance along with Grinnell Mutual recommends taking steps to prevent water damage from frozen pipes.
1. Know how to shut off your water.
“If you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time in the winter, it’s good to find out where and how your utilities come into your home,” said Kevin Hieber, reinsurance claims specialist at Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company. “Know where your water shut off is inside your home.”
In a worst-case scenario where your furnace fails and your pipes freeze, the largest amount of water is contained in the water heater in the basement. This is especially important for homes with boiler systems.
“If the pilot goes out or the boiler runs out of fuel and the radiators freeze, crack, and split, you’re going to have free-flowing water in your home,” said Hieber.
2. Monitor your home.
Whether it’s a primary or vacation residence, you may want to ask someone you trust to check your home daily if your home will be unoccupied for more than a few days.
“If your pipes freeze when no one is checking your home and the water is not shut off, you could have thousands of gallons of water release during the days you are gone,” said Hieber.
There are also devices and services for monitoring your home’s temperature remotely.
3. Consider alternatives.
Water heating is roughly 15 percent of your home’s utility bill costing the average household up to $600 each year, according to estimates from Energy Saver and Energy Star. Grinnell Mutual recommends choosing a water heater best suited to your home’s needs to save money on utility bills and prevent costly repairs from frozen pipes.
“If your home is your primary residence with multiple showers, laundry, and dishwashing, a gas water heater is probably a more efficient way of heating water. If you’re traveling or pushing toward retirement, sometimes you can do loss prevention and mitigation with an electric water heater for your own piece of mind,” said Hieber.
While both electric and gas water heaters have adjustable thermostats, there is some loss of water within a gas water heater system. If you shut off water, it could boil dry in just a few days. An electric water heater does the same thing, but if you shut off the power to the water heater, the water is not cooked away. This makes it much easier to reduce the exposure to a major water loss in an unattended dwelling.