A much colder winter this year predicted by The Old Farmer’s Almanac threatens to cause even more frozen pipe damage to homes than last year unless homeowners fight back the cold with simple steps to protect homes.
According to claims data compiled by Nationwide and Allied Insurance, the average frozen pipe insurance claim tops more than $10,000. In just three years — 2009-2011 — Nationwide and Allied received more than 30,000 homeowners’ frozen pipes claims from across the country totaling more than $2.1 million. The top states for frozen pipes claims were Pennsylvania, Ohio, Connecticut, New York and Maryland.
“Ruptured pipes in winter are one of the most common claims and the onslaught of a predicted colder winter will no doubt make it a tough season for homeowners unless they take preventative action to protect their homes,” said Pete Lore, Nationwide associate vice president of claims. “We urge homeowners to take action and avoid frustration caused by frozen pipe water damage, especially those traveling away from home for significant periods of time.”
Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety research shows that frozen pipes are one of the most costly sources of damage during freezing weather. When water freezes, it can cause pipes to burst and result in significant water damage. While the average insurance claim includes several pipes, IBHS research found that just a single burst pipe can cause more than $5,000 in water damage.
Nationwide and Allied will closely monitor winter weather across the country and are urging customers to take steps now to prevent potential damage.
Helpful tips for winter
Frozen water can cause pressure buildup leading to pipes bursting. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are particularly vulnerable to freezing, where holes in the home’s outside wall for television, cable or telephone lines allow cold air to reach them. Each situation is unique and may require a different approach, but here are a few general tips you may want to consider to try to keep water in pipes from freezing:
Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around pipes (particularly in the kitchen and bathroom).
Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through an unheated or unprotected space. Another option is to drain the water system, especially if your house will be unattended during cold periods.Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping to slow the heat transfer, often times the more insulation the better.Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes with caulking.
For more tips and demonstrations, view our winter weather infographic.
Contact your local Nationwide agent, call 1-877-OnYourSide, or visit Nationwide’s website for Ohio Farm Bureau members.