There are lots of things you can do to reduce the risk of winter related losses such as frozen pipes. However, if temperatures are extremely cold and you turn on your tap to find a trickle or nothing instead of a steady flow, you probably have frozen pipes somewhere in your home. Water expands when frozen, but pipes do not, which can cause a pipe to burst. If you discover you have frozen pipes, act quickly...don't wait for them to burst.
- Turn off the water supply. If pipes are frozen and in danger of bursting, you want to stop the flow of additional water into the pipes to reduce potential for additional damage.
- Protect your possessions. Move any possessions near the frozen pipe to a safe area to prevent damage if it bursts.
- Locate the frozen pipe. Check water flow at faucets to determine if the frozen pipe is isolated in one area, more extensive, or close to where water comes into the home. Feeling along pipes can help to locate the frozen area. Look for bulging.
- Take action to thaw pipes immediately. Be attentive as you thaw pipes because sometimes pinholes or cracks can occur from freezing and then upon thawing leaks become evident. There are lots of do-it-yourself tips on the internet on how to thaw pipes...search "thawing frozen pipes". You may want to do some advance reading just in case. Be sure to open faucets near the frozen pipe to let steam escape and water flow out. We recommend calling a licensed plumber for assistance.
NOTE: Murphy Insurance is not a plumbing or construction expert and cannot guarantee that prevention or corrective measures will alleviate damage. Murphy Insurance is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of informaiton provided through links to other websites. Consult an experienced plumber, contractor or expert to determine the best solution for your situation.
- Turn off the water supply to stop the flow of water. Immediate action can be key to reducing additional damage. If it's an emergency and you don't know what to do, call the fire department. After the water is off, you can clean up the spill and work to reduce further damage. If a burst pipe is near any electrical switches or fuses, turn the power off at the panel. Never touch anything electrical if it's wet.
- Clean up, make temporary repairs and take steps to prevent further damage. An insurance adjuster doesn’t need to see the actual water spill before you start cleaning up. However, the adjuster will want to inspect any damaged items. Documenting damage with pictures and/or video can be helpful to the process. If the leak involves ceilings being saturated with water, be extra careful of weakened construction that could collapse and cause injury.
- Get professional help. Most of us aren't skilled enough to make proper repairs especially if the damage is major and/or within walls. A licensed plumber (and perhaps electrician if electrical is involved) can help you make repairs. A professional water damage restoration company will remove water from your home and ensure that walls are dry to prevent a mold problem. Remember, mold cannot survive without moisture. You want to be sure repairs are done properly to prevent additional damage in the future.
- Call your agent or insurance company as soon as possible. At Murphy Insurance, our claims team is ready to assist you in processing a claim and connecting you with your insurance company. We have an emergency help line for after hours claim assistance. You can contact your insurance company directly if you prefer, but be sure to call us, too. Document anything that is damaged and save receipts for what you spend.