How to prevent frozen pipes is a question many homeowners ask themselves each winter as yet another ice storm bears down on the NY Tri-State area. And for good reason: The Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) reports that iced-up water lines are one of the biggest risks of property damage when temperatures fall. And, 37% of incidents occur in basements.
So yes, wrap your water lines (especially those made of copper) and leave faucets dripping, but also keep in mind that accidents can—and do!—happen all too often. Maybe you’re away on vacation and can’t keep tabs on your hometown weather report to take quick action, or perhaps the temperature changed too quickly and drastically for you to make it home from a double-shift at work in time. In that case, the question morphs from a theoretical how to prevent frozen pipes to a panicked “Now what?”
If you find yourself caught in an ice storm and your faucet won’t deliver water for your morning coffee, call professionals to the rescue right away. You really can’t afford to wait for temperatures to thaw, hoping for the best. Once a blockage of ice has formed inside your water lines, defrosting the blockage may lead to water escaping from the pipes into your home: behind the wall, down the ceiling, into the kitchen cabinet or flooding the basement carpet. Don’t take the chance!
Thankfully, even worst-case situations—flooded basements or attics, for example—can be remedied by professionals specializing in water clean-up, restoration, and (in the worst worst-case scenarios) reconstruction.