With the approach of colder weather, Texas residents are reminded that a fast-moving cold front can cause temperatures to drop below freezing within hours.
Outdoor pipes, pipes in unheated areas, and pipes that run along uninsulated exterior walls can burst if the water in them freezes and expands. This can shatter pipe seals or the pipes themselves, sending water pouring through your house.
“It’s important to take measures that will prevent or limit damage to your home,” says InsureMe Texas agent Ryan Monceaux. “Save headache and money by taking action to avoid damage to walls, ceilings, carpets, and furniture.”
If Your Pipes Freeze
- If a pipe bursts and floods your home, turn the water off at the shut-off valve. Call a plumber for help if you can’t find the broken pipe or if it’s inaccessible. Don’t turn the water back on until the pipe has been repaired.
- If the pipe hasn’t burst, thaw it out with an electric heating pad, hair dryer, portable space heater, or towel soaked with hot water. Apply heat by slowly moving the heat source toward the coldest spot on the pipe. Never concentrate heat in one spot because cracking ice can shatter a pipe. Turn the faucet on and let it run until the pipe is thawed and water pressure returns to normal.
- Don’t use a blowtorch or other open-flame device. They are fire risks and carbon monoxide exposure risks.
If You Have a Loss
In the event of a loss, take these steps to ensure your property is protected:
- Contact your insurance agent promptly. Follow up as soon as possible with a written claim.
- Review your coverage. Many homeowners and renters policies pay for property repair, and may also pay for debris removal and for additional living expenses if you have to move temporarily because of damage to your home. If you can’t find your policy, ask your agent or company for a copy.
- Homeowners policies may require you to make temporary repairs to protect your property from further damage. Your policy covers the cost of these repairs. Keep all receipts and damaged property for the adjuster to inspect. If possible, take photos or videos of the damage before making repairs. Don’t make permanent repairs. An insurance company may deny a claim if you make permanent repairs before an adjuster inspects the damage.
- Most homeowners policies do not cover loss caused by freezing pipes while your house is unoccupied unless you used reasonable care to maintain heat in the building; shut off the water supply; and drain water from plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems.
“It doesn’t take much to protect yourself and your property,” Agent Ryan Monceaux says. “Take the time and use common sense in order to avoid the frustration of damage and a possible claim.” For more information, call InsureMe Texas at 866-612-4446