5 Easy Ways to Prevent Home Damage from Frozen Pipes

By Nancy B
January 04, 2022

Do you remember Virginia's extended arctic freeze in 2019? Those frigid January temperatures resulted in over two hundred NNINS home water damage claims from frozen and burst pipes. Find out why home pipes freeze in the commonwealth and what you can do to prevent this costly and messy damage. 

Why do home pipes freeze?

The truth is, many Virginia homes weren't built for the threat of long-lasting freezing temperatures. That can mean you have pipes running through uninsulated areas of your home like an attic, crawl space, garage, and basement. These spaces become vulnerable in colder than average weather. Even pipes located on the outside insulated walls of your home may be in danger of freezing if temperatures get cold enough. 


Leaking Pipes


Researchers at the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) have found that an outdoor temperature of 20 degrees F is the critical threshold for vulnerable home water pipes. So, whether you're going on a trip, have a rental property, or simply have concerns about the pipes in your Virginia home, there are a few simple things you can do to prevent costly damage this winter. Start by knowing where your home's main water shutoff is located in case of an emergency and then protect your plumbing.

5 Ways to protect plumbing
  1. Keep your garage closed.
  2. Use foam pipe insulators for vulnerable pipes in or close to uninsulated areas.
  3. Open your cabinet doors- kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanity doors can be left open to let your home's heated airflow in and around those pipes.
  4.  Let your faucets drip slowly during extreme deep freezes and the coldest temperatures overnight.
  5. Winterize your outdoor hose bibs.


Pipe Insulation

                              Pipe Insulators


If these measures don't prevent a pipe from freezing, consult a licensed plumber. The plumbing may need to be relocated or insulated differently.

Can you file a home insurance claim for burst water pipes?

If you do experience a burst pipe, we've got you covered. Homeowners insurance protects you from water damage from frozen pipes. It's important to know that an insurance claim may not be covered if you vacate a property for long periods and do not properly prepare your home for cold weather. If you are leaving a home for an extended period of time, maintain a temperature of 55 degrees F or above and consult a plumber that can recommend extra measures to protect plumbing.


Fix your pipes


We hope Virginia is spared from an arctic freeze this winter. We have help with what to do if you think you have a frozen pipe in your home or end up with a ruptured pipe. We're here for you if you need to file a claim. Just contact your independent agent or give us a call!

Learn more about homeowners insurance in Virginia >

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