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Frozen Temps – Protecting your home from frozen pipes and water damage

Ready or not, here comes the cold front. Snowfall has hit Western Washington, and it’s ready for round two. Are you ready for the freezing temps?

The most common cause of home damage in cold weather is from frozen pipes. As you may know, when water freezes, it expands. When water freezes in a pipe, the pipe can rupture, or as the ice blocks the pipe completely and continues to expand, the pressure continues to build up, and eventually cause the pipe to burst.

Long-term, you should implement steps you would normally take for conserving energy and heat in the home, such as:

  • Sealing cracks and openings in the walls, attic, basement, and crawlspace.
  • Weatherstrip and caulk around crawlspace doors and basement windows.
  • Check on your home’s insulation, especially where pipes are located.
  • Insulate unprotected pipes with either insulation or pipe sleeves. Don’t leave any gaps!

Short-term — if you don’t have much time to prepare, these tips can still help protect your home when you get that winter storm warning:

  • Know where your water shutoff is so that you can turn off the water quickly if necessary.
  • Disconnect hoses from outside faucets to prevent water from freezing in the hose and rupturing the faucet.
  • If your exterior faucets have cut-off valves, close them and drain the faucets.
  • Close foundation vents.
  • Fix or board-up broken basement windows.
  • Keep cabinet doors under sinks open to let warm air flow around the supply lines.
  • Keep your thermostat on!

If your home does suffer from a burst or damaged pipe, turn off the water supply and call a licensed plumber immediately. While you’re waiting for your plumber to arrive, call your insurance provider to file a claim, and contact ServiceMaster of Tacoma to begin cleaning up the mess and restore your peace of mind.