As cold weather approaches, Vermonters risk water damage from frozen pipes

Vermont dodged the potential water damage and destruction of Hurricane Sandy, but even a typical Vermont winter can pose problems to the homeowner. Frozen water is the culprit behind one of the most frequent property damage complaints we hear in Vermont in winter: frozen water pipes.

Anyone who has ever tried to chill a can of soda in the freezer knows that water expands when it freezes. When water freezes, its volume increases by as much as eleven percent (11%). This expansion causes a huge amount of force against the soda can. Eventually the can will explode and cause a mess.

The same kind of expansion can happen behind the walls of your home – when water freezes in the pipes. The force created by expanding frozen water can break concrete or even steel! Even a small amount of water can cause big problems.

Let’s look at two common scenarios that can lead to frozen pipes and resulting water damage: Unoccupied homes (many Vermonters winter in the south) and power outages.

Proper winterizing is key if you leave your home for extended periods in winter. It is essential that the pipes are completely drained, small amounts of water can remain in low points in the lines. We recommend the use of an air compressor to blow out the lines.

Winter wind and snow and ice storms can and often do cause power outages. Most heating systems depend on electricity to keep things running. So when the power goes out, so does the heat. In this case, prevention by proper insulation is the best cure.

In both situations, the resumption of water through the pipes of your home is critical. This is when an attentive homeowner should try to detect any damage so that it does not lead to greater problems. When the power comes back on, or when you come home from Florida, make sure you pay close attention. Listen for spraying water, look for water spots. Most plumbing lines reside out of sight, in the walls of homes, so it is very important to proceed cautiously.

Your home may need a little CPR – at PuroClean this means “Controlling, Protecting and Restoring”. Contact us. We will mitigate your loss to prevent further damage.

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