How to Prevent a Frozen Disaster
It is beginning to look a lot like winter. And with winter weather comes the possibility of frozen pipes. Water damage from pipes freezing, whether in a home or commercial structure, is the number one call we get each winter. And as much as we love to help Central Oregonians in need, we feel it is our responsibility to provide tips to help reduce your risk of having frozen pipes this winter.
Central Oregon is home to a lot of rental and vacation homes. And according to SERVPRO of Bend owner Brent Irwin, these structures are where most problems originate. There are a couple of reasons this often occurs. One is that the home is left vacant for extended periods with the thermostat turned off or low. Depending on the insurance carrier, the damage may not be covered. Another is when a renter ignores the problem and leaves it for the landlord to address. However, with the latter, if the situation worsens, flooding could occur, resulting in a loss of valuable possessions.
But even if you live in Bend full time and own your home, it gets downright cold here. We recommend you do the following things to protect your home from a frozen disaster.
Here are five of them:
- Set the thermostat to a minimum of 58°F. Enough said.
- Create ventilation. Open the cabinets in your home to allow room temperature air to keep the pipes a bit warmer. This is especially important if the cabinet is located against an outside wall.
- Insulate exposed pipes in the attic, basement, and exterior walls. Foam insulation wraps split lengthwise can be easily attached to the plumbing. This type of insulation is very inexpensive and available for purchase at most home improvement stores. Be sure to put a foam cover on exterior faucets too.
- Turn faucets onto a slow trickle. Any faucets that are attached to an outside wall should trickle water.
- Caulk holes and leaks around piping. If you notice any airflow holes around your pipes, seal them with caulk to prevent cold air from damaging the pipes.
If you are going to be away for an extended period, do all of the above plus:
- Close the inside valves that control the water supply.
- If you’re expecting freezing temperatures turn off the water to any outside spigots and drain the water from the line.
If your pipes freeze, shut off the water immediately. Thaw your frozen pipes using the warm air setting on a hairdryer or space heater. However, avoid leaving space heaters unattended. Once thawed, slowly turn the water back on. Inspect pipes for any sign of leaks or cracks. If you notice any leaks or cracks, turn the water off and call a licensed plumber.
If your pipes burst, shut off your main water supply and call a licensed plumber immediately. Should you incur water damage or any other type of damage, contact your insurance provider and then SERVPRO of Bend to repair the damage quickly and safely.
We are Central Oregon’s locally owned and operated disaster restoration company and offer 24-hour emergency service and highly trained water damage restoration technicians. Our team uses a comprehensive water damage restoration process to ensure the problem is solved the first time correctly. We hope you won’t need us, but if you do, we are here to help, making your problem "Like it never even happened."