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Prevent frozen pipes this winter and avoid expensive water damage


As freezing temperatures take hold, it’s essential to prepare your home for winter. One especially important task is taking steps to prevent frozen pipes.

As freezing temperatures take hold, it’s essential to prepare your home for winter. One especially important task is taking steps to prevent frozen pipes. When pipes freeze, pressure builds and could result in them bursting at their weakest point, causing potentially significant water damage.Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are particularly vulnerable to this concern, especially when they're subjected to extra cold air coming through utility line holes.

Also, those who live in warmer climates may think they don’t need to worry about frozen pipes during the winter months. But frozen pipes don’t just happen in cold climates. Homes in warm climates are often subject to the same freezing risks as homes in cold climates.

Most states will get a cold snap where temperatures dip below freezing. It doesn't take bitter cold to freeze a water pipe. Temperatures only have to dip to about 20°F for a few hours for an exposed water pipe to be at risk of freezing.

Homes in warmer climates often have water pipes located in uninsulated areas such as attics, crawl spaces or exterior walls. The solution is to keep these pipes from being exposed to cold temperatures.Here are some tips to follow to help keep pipes from freezing:

  • Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping. The more insulation the better.
  • Re-route pipes to an inside wall.
  • Use caulking to seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes.
  • Disconnect garden hoses and turn off the water supply to spigots.
  • Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, especially in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Allow a slow trickle of water to flow through faucets connected to pipes that run through an unheated or unprotected space. (If your house is going to be vacant during a cold spell, consider draining your water system.)

Taking a few moments to protect your home from the potential damage caused by a frozen water pipe can save you the frustration of cleanup, repair and the potential loss of personal mementos or family heirlooms.

In addition, there are “connected home” devices including water leak detectors, that use smart technology to monitor potential risks and allow users to make adjustments and receive alerts, even when they’re not home (via a smart phone or tablet). Individuals who have installed such a connected home device may be eligible for a discount from their insurance company. For example, American Family Insurance offers up to a 5% Proactive Home Protection discount* for customers who install one of these devices in their homes.


* American Family Insurance customers should check with their agents to determine if the Proactive Home Protection discount is available in their states.

About American Family InsuranceMadison, Wis.– based American Family Insurance is the nation's third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company and ranks 358th on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, through its exclusive agents in 19 states. American Family affiliates (The General, Homesite and AssureStart) also provide options for consumers who want to manage their insurance matters directly over the Internet or by phone. Web:; Facebook:; Twitter: Google+