Sunday, 18 October 2009

Dealing with Burst Pipes and Water Damage During Winter

Underexpected Waterfeature

Every winter, more than 200,000 homes are water-damaged due to frozen pipes that have burst. For affected families, the effect is not just mere inconvenience but a serious interruption to their daily lives. Some families are even forced to seek temporary shelter because their homes have been rendered inhabitable by severe water damage. It is a fact that one in five homeowners insurance claims every year is related to water damage and such claims peak come wintertime when pipes become frozen and eventually burst.

Pipes that are Prone to Freezing

Some pipes in your home are more susceptible to freezing with the most obvious ones being those that are positioned outside such as pipes running along the house's exterior walls. Other pipes that are most exposed to the cold weather like pipes in crawl spaces, garage, and lofts are also likely to freeze. Also, the main water supply pipe carrying water to your home may also freeze in severely cold weather.

In addition, hot water pipes are not safe from freezing so it is important to winterize them too along with cold water pipes. Keep in mind also that cold air can travel up the pipes so the temperature outside the pipe does not have to be 0° Celsius or below for the pipes to freeze.

Steps to Take When Frozen Pipes Break

1. Turn off the main water supply line at the street. Call a plumber immediately if you cannot shut off the main line.

2. Switch off the electricity supply to your home at the meter box to prevent electric shocks form happening, which is something that could very well happen if there is a leak somewhere near an electrical wiring or anything electrical.

3. If there is water damage, call up your insurance company. It is standard for most home insurance polices to provide coverage for this kind of water damage. Talk to your agent about the necessary repairs and be clear about the details of your particular coverage.

4. If the affected room is not flooded but some parts are wet or damp from a leak, open the windows and doors to air dry the area.

5. Take your documents and possessions out of the affected area to make sure they don't get damaged by water.

How Does Water Freezing Cause Pipe Bursts?

During winter, the freezing temperature outside makes water supply pipes naturally at risk of freezing. Because water expands when it freezes and turns to ice, you can expect that there will not be enough room in the pipe for the sudden bulk. So, this creates the breaks and cracks in the pipe causing water to burst out of the pipe the moment the ice melts. Obviously, you will have to pay for the necessary pipe repair and replacement. However, the repair costs are preferable over spending thousands of dollars to fix more serious water damage caused by a massive leak.

Call for Professional Service

In most situations, calling a plumber to deal with a burst pipe is the best course of action. It's also the least troublesome for you. This is also true if there is water damage to your home caused by the burst pipe. Consider calling a professional water damage restoration company rather than try to do the job yourself, which could even lead to more damage

Leo Nov is an editorial staff member of, a leading service provider for water damage cleanups. To learn more about burst pipe and water in Basement, visit

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