For anyone living in an area where temperatures regularly dip below freezing, a few precautionary steps to help protect your plumbing can be a cost-effective way to help avoid cleaning up after a burst pipe. Consider that the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) says one frozen pipe that bursts may result in more than $5,000 worth of water-related damage.
- Be sure to insulate all accessible pipes well before a cold snap. If you’re not sure what type of pipe insulation to use, ask your local hardware store, says the IBHS. The staff there should be able to help recommend insulation that is appropriate for your home and the winter temperatures in your area.
- Apply pipe insulation to water pipes in unheated areas of your home, such as the garage, or in areas where pipes are near exterior walls, such as under kitchen or bathroom sinks.
- Using a sealant or caulk approved for exterior use, shore up cracks and holes on your home’s outside walls. (If you haven’t done this already, you may have to save it for next spring. Caulk typically needs to be applied in temperatures of at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit, says the Department of Energy.)
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