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Extreme Cold Weather Causes Surge In Burst Pipe Disasters

For millions of Americans looking for some relief from the bitter cold temperatures that have prevailed this month, the news is not so good. The National Weather Service says that the arctic cold temperatures will remain in place for much of this week with the potential for breaking more record lows Tuesday morning in many places. Wind chill advisories are in place for many areas as highs will be anywhere from 10 to 35 degrees below average from the Midwest all the way to the Gulf Coast.

Highs are expected to reach only into the teens and single digits across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes this week, making winter-wearing residents there very unhappy. Single digits will also prevail from the Central Plains into the Ohio Valley and Interior Northeast where highs will range from 10 to 30 degrees below average for most locations east of the Rockies.

As people in the Plains and Midwest will continue trying to stay warm, those living in the South will be dealing with freezing rain, sleet and snow. Snow is expected in parts of North Texas through early Tuesday morning where freezing rain prompted the cancellation of over 1,000 flights in and out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

A big snowstorm that is moving across Oklahoma made roads very slippery Monday while snow, sleet and freezing rain has put the Carolinas, parts of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi under winter weather advisories. In Tennessee, where people were trying to recover from last week’s ice storm, snow is in the forecast for the eastern portion of the state. Schools in many Tennessee counties remained closed Monday while thousands of people were still without power.

Wind chill advisories are in place across the northern Plains, the Upper Midwest and the Great Lakes as frigid temperatures will prevail most of this week. Many schools in Michigan were delayed Monday morning due to the frigid cold air that makes being outside dangerous. People living in the Plains, Upper Midwest and Great Lakes are being reminded to bundle up extra well before heading outdoors and to remember to bring pets inside as the temperatures are dangerously low.

Extreme Cold Weather Increases Potential For Home Plumbing Disasters

Extreme cold and winter weather ranks as the third cause of insured property damage, with only hurricanes and tornadoes eclipsing this. These statistics come from the Insurance Information Institute, which is an insurance industry group. Many people are unaware how damaging the cold weather can be. Property losses from snow, ice, and most importantly the freezing cold temperatures average around $1.2 billion dollars per year. The 2014/2015 winter season is already eclipsing this figure, making this season the fourth most costliest year for winter storm losses as winter has been pounding the north east and Midwest this year.

The main cause of property damage in the winter season is from frozen pipes. The average insurance claim for the damage caused by a frozen pipe is around $18,000 though these costs can vary in both scope and cost. You might consider this to be a high cost and you are right, but repairing the pipe that broke is the least costly part of such property damage. It is the water damage that ensures from a ruptured pipe which causes the most damage. The water damage which results quickly runs the bill up from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars. Such water damage includes damage to the fixtures, finishes, flooring and drywall as well as peoples ceilings and walls. Of this the most expensive will be repairing walls and ceilings which have sustained water damage.

It is not just the inside of your home which can sustain property damage, the outside of your property is also vulnerable, especially if you have trees or other such landscaping. The sheer weight of snow, and the high winds can cause weak or dead branches to break off or snap, and both of these factors can cause the entire tree to fall over, sometimes even into ones house, garage or other structure. In the western United states claims for collaring trees range about $10,000, mostly due to how much larger the trees tend to be out west. In the rest of the country the average claim for a collapsed tree ranges from $3,000 to $5,000.

Another cause of immense property damage, one in which many claims have already been on the rise this season is that of roof collapses due to ice dams and the sheer weight of the snowfall this record winter season. Ice dams in case you did not know is the result of water which freezes along the edge of your roof. Ice dams are caused as the heat from your home melts the snow and ice then it freezes up at the edge of your roof as well as possibly seeping into the homes walls.

The good news is that your home owners insurance or renters insurance may pay for most of this damage. You will have a deductible of course, which could range from $500 or $1,000 so you will be responsible for this amount, if your claim is valid. You could be responsible for more if the damage done exceeds your current policies limits. Most insurances will cover the damage from burst pipes and roofs that collapse from the weight of the snow, as well as damage resulting from ice dams. Yet not all damage is covered, for example if melting snow seeping into your home overburdens your drainage and septic systems resulting in a sewer backup in your basement, this damage likely will not be covered by either a standard home owners insurance policy nor a flood insurance policy. To cover this sort of damage you must opt into a special policy or add additional coverage via an “endorsement” to your existing insurance policy.

The best way to deal with extreme cold weather damage is to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Tips to Prevent Broken and Burst Pipes

As many homeowners know, winter weather can wreak havoc on your home if you have not prepared for its harsh weather conditions. Pipes can burst, ice damming can occur, and many other occurrences may happen due to the cold weather conditions. It is always a good idea to put together a checklist to ensure that you and your home are prepared for the winter.

Fix Leaks: the smallest of leaks can turn into a huge hassle in the wintertime if they are not taken care of properly and in a timely manner. Make sure that you check all of your pipes for cracks and leaks, and fix them before winter comes along. This will save you time and money in the long run! If your pipes are insulated, feel around and check for moisture. If the insulation is wet than you more than likely are dealing with a leak.

Use an evaporative cooler
: This may also be known as a swamp cooler, and it is definitely another source of water that needs to be drained before the cold weather hits. To winterize your evaporative cooler, make sure to turn off its water source and drain any pipes that lead to it. This would be a great time to clean the interior and clean the pads as well. After you have done that, put a tarp or cover over it so that no moisture enters.

Insulate your pipes: Insulating your pipes is one of the most important steps to avoid water damage to your property during the winter months. This will prevent your pipes from cracking, freezing, and then bursting. This is inexpensive and very easy to install, and this will save you money on heating costs as well as protecting your pipes.

Make sure your pump house is insulated:
Planning and protection are the two most important things to do when dealing with cold weather. If your water comes from a well, than insulating your pump house is a very good idea. It is very inexpensive to do this, and will keep your pipes in the pump house from freezing during the winter. A heat source is also needed to keep the pump house at a temperature above freezing.

Make sure your sprinkler system is drained: Water can buildup and freeze in your sprinkler system, so it is a very good idea to drain it come wintertime. To do this, you will need to turn off the water source and then turn on any valves to flush out any excess water.

Protect any outside hose bibs: It is of utmost importance that you winterize your hose bibs. First, you will need to disconnect any hoses that are connected to outside faucets. This will ensure that water does not get trapped in the hose bib and damage the pipes. Drain the water from these hoses before storing them as well. It is also a good idea to insulate your hose bibs to make sure they do not freeze during the winter since they are outside.
Know where your water main is: Lastly, it is very important to know where your water main is in case of an emergency. If you were to encounter a burst pipe, you could quickly turn off the water main to minimize any further damage.

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How to deal with broken hot water heaters

Waking up one morning and discovering that you do not have hot water because the heaters have broken down is not an experience you would like to go through. If you do not have hot water and it is cold, then you have to do with cold showers. Hot water heaters also provide heated water for other domestic use such as laundry and kitchen. Your hot water tank may develop leaks, which mean that you have to switch it off for repairs to be done.

Dealing with water heating problems may not be easy because the issues require specialized technicians to handle them. Hot water pipes could also burst due to increased pressure created by the heated water. Mineral deposits on metallic pipes could erode the pipe’s interior surface causing it to wear out, and with time, they burst and cause leaks. Just like other leakages, the hot water leaks could cause flooding in your home.

The water may end up in your building where it wrecks havoc. In addition, the leakages may mean increased water bills. You have to shut down the faucets and main valves when you suspect there is leakage in the tanks or pipes. This will prevent further loss of water or flooding of your home. Water heater problems may be different and could require different professionals to deal with them depending on their nature.

When there is no water coming out, it could mean that the power supply is not working. If you cannot identify where the fault is, then a gas company technician may help. The pilot light has to be checked to determine if it has a problem. Similarly, strange noises that come from the heating system could be a sign of mineral deposits or hard water scale.

When minerals accumulate inside the pipes, they narrow it down and create more pressure. This could lead to clogging of the pipes resulting to lack of water or low-pressure water coming out from the faucets. High pressure can cause damage leading to flooding as well as loss of water. Treatment of hard water scale and mineral deposits can help in addressing the problems and reduce the noise.

Water that collects on the floors where the heater is installed may mean there is leakage. The water could be seeping right from the tank or from loose valves. A leakage may also be caused by obstructed vent of the heater or a faulty heating element. At times, you may have water that is not hot enough and one of the things you have to check for is the thermostat. Mineral buildup may as well consume much of the heat causing the water not to heat sufficiently. This means you may need to flush the tank and the pipes.

The worst thing you may have to deal with is a pipe burst because it releases water that could end up inside your home or at the basement. Basements are affected by water leaks because they are situated underground and water seeps through cracks and foundations and settles at the base. If already water has penetrated the walls and foundation and settled at the base, then a water damage restoration company may be called to help pump out the water and dry the affected area.