Friday, December 11, 2009

More ways to beat the freeze

Just in case you're one of the unlucky people whose pipes have frozen - like yours truly - here's some good tips to follow:

Minimize the chance your pipes will freeze by insulating pipes in unheated areas and those that run along outside walls, floors and ceilings. Disconnect outside garden hoses, and seal foundation cracks that let arctic air freeze pipes in crawlspaces.

A few simple tasks can help protect pipes and homes even as the temp. is dropping:

Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to piping under sinks and vanities near exterior walls.

Run a small trickle of water from hot and cold faucets during extreme cold.

Keep exterior doors to unheated spaces closed as much as possible during winter months.

• If you plan to be away for an extended period have the water system professionally drained.

• If you are taking a short trip, ask a neighbor to check the house regularly during severe cold spells. Discovering a burst pipe or water leak quickly can prevent excessive damage.

• Install a whole house water leak detection system.

• If you own a business that will be unoccupied for more than 24 hours at a time make arrangements to have the building inspected once a day during winter.

Quickly discovering a burst pipe or water leak can prevent excessive damage.

The deep freeze leads to frozen pipes and insurance claims

This year it's not the snow, but freezing temperatures reeking havoc on Washington homeowners.

State Farm, the state's largest homeowner insurer, has declared their own state of emergency. What does this mean? To get ready for the onslaught of calls and claims, they've hired additional adjusters. So far, they've had 215 freeze-related claims and expect that tally to reach 500.

Some advice for consumers: First, turn off your water source. If your pipes have broken, take steps to mitigate any further damage before you call your insurance company. Learn more. Remember, we're here to help. If you're having trouble with a claim or have questions, call our Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-562-6900.