A plumbing pipe in a friend’s condo froze and burst recently, flooding two floors of an eight-story building, and leaving three and a half feet of standing water. Not only were the tenants whose condos were flooded displaced from their homes while repairs were made, their furniture and belongs were ruined.
[Fun fact for renters: your belongings are not covered under your landlord’s insurance policy, even in cases of flooding caused by burst pipes. Watch out for a future blog post about renters insurance for tips on how to prevent this.]
We hear horror stories about frozen pipes and the damage they cause from homeowners and renters alike every year when the weather turns wintery. So we decided it would be helpful to share tips on how to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Frozen pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage when temperatures drop. A burst pipe can cost upwards of $5,000 in water damage, according to IBHS research.
Busted water pipes are a much bigger problem than you might imagine. According to State Farm Insurance, more than 250,000 homes are damaged annually by frozen or burst water pipes, ranking second only to hurricanes in terms of damage and repair costs. However, unlike hurricanes, frozen water pipes can be prevented.
Taking preventive measures before cold weather hits, such as keeping temperatures above 32 degrees (the freezing point for water), can prevent pipes from freezing, and the costly damage that goes with them. Most plumbers recommend keeping heat at 55 degrees when temperatures are frosty.
Homeowners – check out the tips and link below for tips on how to repair burst pipes and prevent them from freezing in the first place. Condo and apartment owners – pass this on to your board. Renters share these tips with your landlord. Here are some simple precautions to follow:
Prevent Frozen Pipes
Provide a reliable back-up power source to ensure continuous power to the building.
Insulate all attic penetrations.
Ensure proper seals on all doors and windows.
Seal all wall cracks and penetrations, including domestic and fire protection lines, electrical conduit, other utility service line, etc.
- Install insulation and/or heat trace tape with a reliable power source on various wet sprinkler system piping. This includes main lines coming up from underground passing through a wall as well as sprinkler branch lines.
- Place a monitored automatic excess flow switch on the main incoming domestic water line to provide early detection of a broken pipe or valve when the space is unoccupied.