By Karen Morrone, Marketing & Communications Manager

Frozen pipes.  What are they and why should I be concerned about them?  Those are the questions that came to my mind this week after learning frozen pipes have been occurring across the country and affecting some of our MAX membership.  We had losses with damages in excess of $100,000 due to water pipes bursting due to these freezing temperatures.

According to the American Red Cross, when water freezes, it expands and that expansion causes pressure on the pipes and can essentially break the pipe regardless of how strong the pipe may be, whether it’s metal or plastic.  Simply put, water can freeze, put a tremendous amount of pressure on the pipe and then the pipe busts open and can cause water damage, possibly a lot of water damage to not just your home, but your contents as well.

Which pipes freeze the most often? shares the following:

  • Pipes that are exposed in unheated areas of your home. Think crawl spaces, basements, attics, garages or kitchen cabinets.
  • Pipes that are located on your home’s exterior walls. These pipes probably have little to no insulation around them.
  • Pipes that are on the exterior of your home. Garden hoses come to mind.

So, how can I prevent a pipe from freezing in each of these scenarios?  Check out these tips from both the American Red Cross and websites:

  • For pipes in unheated areas of your home or pipes located on the exterior walls, add extra insulation or heat tape. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  You can also open your cabinet doors in your kitchen or bathroom to allow warmer air onto the pipes.  Let water drip from your faucets.  Even a trickle could help prevent a pipe from freezing.
  • For garden hoses, remove, drain and store them outside before the first freeze. This tip would have been more helpful to readers in the fall, but is still good to know even in winter months.
  • Lastly, if you are going out of town for an extended period of time, set your thermostat for no lower than 55 degrees and consider shutting off the main water valve or get one of these, opening your faucets and flushing the toilets to drain the system. Coming back from a vacation and finding water damage in your home is not a welcome surprise for anyone.  We recently had losses with damages in excess of $100,000 due to water pipes bursting due to freezing temperatures while members were away.  Water ran for a few days before discovery, resulting in extensive damage to drywall, kitchen cabinets, hardwood floors, carpet, etc.  It is always a good idea to have someone check on your home when you are away, especially in winter months.

Here’s hoping the remainder of the winter season that the Groundhog predicted earlier this month is favorable to you and that your pipes do not freeze.

KarenKaren Morrone

Karen is the Marketing & Communications Manager for MAX where she manages content marketing and social media.  When she’s not at the office, Karen can be found transporting her children to soccer and other after-school activities.  In her “spare time”, you can find her volunteering at scouts, tending to her garden, or baking treats.