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What to Do When Your Pipes Freeze & Prevention Tips


What do you do the moment you see water streaking down your walls? We talked to Don Joyner, Founder and President of Great Lakes Waterproofing, to learn immediate steps you need to take to save your home.

After your pipes break 

Find your water shut-off valve.
  1. Find the main water valve, which is usually in your basement. It's most likely a round or oblong red handle. Turn it to shut off the water coming into your home. (It'll stop the water leak.)
  2. Now that the water has stopped flowing into your home, call a professional plumber. Waiting even 24 hours can allow mold or mildew to grow.
  3. Check your insurance policy or speak to your insurance agent to see if any of the damage will be covered by insurance. Depending on the cause of the broken pipes, insurance may not cover this event.
  4. Take steps to mitigate the risk of another break. (See tips below!) 

How to prevent another break

Not to scare you, but one inch of water anywhere within your home can cause up $100,000 in damages. The best course of action is to prevent rather than react to a broken pipe. Most pipes break as a result of extremely low temperatures, so take these quick steps to keep your pipes intact

  1. Disconnect your hose from your outside water spigots. In intense cold, the hose will freeze, expand, and break the spigot, leading to flooding in your basement.
  2. Run water, especially warm water, to prevent freezing.
  3. Drip the cold water at night to keep water moving through the pipes. 
  4. Heat typical cold areas of your home, such as basements, attics, and even cabinets – anywhere pipes might be.
  5. Keep the temperature inside your home above freezing.
  6. Weatherstrip, weatherstrip, weatherstrip. Keep the cold out.
  7. Talk to a professional if you're concerned that your pipes aren't ready for winter.

Be prepared for winter's wrath 

Get home help with the app!

Extreme cold weather is just one issue that can damage your home. Be ready with all Mother Nature can throw at you with the help of vipHomeLink. Our home management app provides you with personalized reminders for home maintenance and tailored recommendations for home improvement, so you can avoid costly repairs like frozen pipes. Our expert-backed, in-app vipTIPs bring expert advice to your fingertips, helping you increase the safety and value of your home. 

Know what to do and when to do it with vipHomeLink. Subscribe today with a monthly or annual membership.

Need help with waterproofing? Contact Great Lakes Waterproofing.

Originally published on January 3, 2020; updated December 4, 2020

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