Homeowners suffer billions of dollars of property losses as a result of water damage each year and many of these people would almost certainly agree that in hindsight, prevention is far better than the cure.
Restorationeze breaks down the cost of repairing water damage so that you can see how insurers calculate your claim and what is involved, as well as being one of the go-to companies for putting things right.
The point here is that a number of pipe problems that lead to potential water damage, are preventable, so it makes sense to take a proactive approach to protecting your home and everything in it.
Understanding what could happen to your water pipes
Water is essential of course, but one of its unique properties is that it expands when it freezes, which makes it a real danger to your pipework when that temperature dial goes below zero.
The reason why frozen water is such a problem, is that the expansion that is going on inside your pipework is putting a great strain on it, which you might not be witnessing at the moment, but something has to give, which is when it becomes all too much and your pipes burst, allowing water to escape.
If you have pipes around the house that are not insulated and are in a vulnerable position, such as running against an exterior wall where the freezing temperatures could be an issue, there is always the risk that these pipes could burst.
Taking action before it’s too late
Some of your pipework is clearly going to be more vulnerable than others, so you need to specifically target pipes that are likely to be more at risk.
Look at pipes that are located in exterior walls and outside as well as seeing if you have any exposed pipes in unheated areas of your home, which could become a problem if they become frozen.
Common unheated areas to address are your attic, crawl space or garage, all of which could contain pipework that may well be vulnerable to freezing over and bursting, unless you take steps to prevent that from happening.
Unless you live in an extreme climate, it can often be enough to cover these pipes with foam pipe insulation to keep them from freezing, but just doing the bare minimum to protect your home from the prospect of water damage, probably isn’t a great strategy.
Before the cold weather sets in
Cold winter months are going to test your pipes to the max and if they are barely insulated, or not insulated at all, this could definitely spell trouble.
Once you have identified which pipework is likely to prove vulnerable to freezing temperatures, consider the idea of spending a bit on some products that are designed to offer insulation protection for your pipes.
The amount you end up spending on products like heating cable and heating tape, could look insignificant in comparison to the cost of restoration after suffering from burst pipework.
Check out the credentials of the product you are considering buying to see whether it has been approved or tested for insulation efficiency. One guide is to see if it is UL Listed, which is one of the standards testing trademarks to look out for, telling you that the product has been put through its paces to see if it does what it says on the tin.
Maintain a good temperature in your home
Taking good preventative measures is about a combination of different things rather than just relying on insulating your pipework on its own.
If you have some exposed pipes and the weather has turned cold outside, try running some water through the water pipe, even if it’s barely a trickle as keeping it flowing should help reduce the prospect of the pipe freezing up.
Another good thing to do would be to keep a steady temperature in your home throughout the day and night.
There will likely be a financial cost in the form of a higher heating bill, if you don’t turn the thermostat down too far when you go to bed, but again, those extra costs could turn out to be small when compared to the prospect of waking up to a burst pipe scenario.
It always pays to remember that pipe problems are most preventable, so take a good look around your home and see where you could be vulnerable, and get someone to come in and check if you are unsure how exposed you are to the prospect of bust pipework.
Lewis Boyle works in the construction industry. He enjoys article writing in his spare time, sharing some of his valuable knowledge with homeowners, DIY’ers and anyone else who is interested in what he has to say!