Do you wanna build a snowman?
You’ve seen the movie Frozen. I think this is a safe assumption. At this point, you would have had to exert significant effort to avoid it. Or you would have to live under a rock. Even if you’ve haven’t watched from start to finish, I’m certain that everyone in American has seen a trailer, a preview, a YouTube clip, a social media reference, or a child walking through the mall in an Elsa costume. We’ve heard “Let it Go” on the radio. We’ve got the gist: sisters, adversity that must be overcome, love conquers all.
My question is the obvious one. The one that we’re all thinking, yet no one is talking about. It strikes at the heart of the movie and its theme. So I’m going to be the one to throw it out there.
The obvious question
What about all the frozen pipes and the extensive water damage that everyone must have suffered? Who paid for that mess? An entire kingdom was frozen and then thawed, and then parts of it frozen again. The damage must have been horrific! Pipes bursting. Water flooding homes and castles. Mold forming, post water damage. The cost of dehumidifiers alone must have bankrupted Elsa.
But I digress.
As we head in to our own season of frost, plummeting temperatures, snow and ice, there are some important lessons to keep in mind.
4 tips to avoid frozen pipes
- These tips are for everyone, nationwide. Sub-zero temperatures affected the majority of the country last winter, pushing south even into the Florida pan-handle. Freezing is not just a New England or North Central problem. With the occurrence of a polar vortex, many typically mild states face the problems associated with freezing temperatures. Just ask my client in Georgia who sustained over $24,000 in water damage to his store when the store next door closed for a three day weekend, and turned the heat off.
- Planning a winter vacation? The single most important thing you can do to protect your home in your absence, is to maintain the heat. It is MUCH less expensive to leave the thermostat set at 60 degrees for 2 weeks, then to pay your insurance deductible when the pipes burst and ruin your home. Yes, I know heat is expensive. I still get an involuntary twitch when I think about my heating bill from last January. But I also know the havoc and the expense that happens without heat. It’s worth the price.
- Own a rental property or investment property that’s currently empty? Maintain the heat. Again the gas or electric bill for keeping the heat at 60 degrees is MUCH less expensive than paying out your insurance deductible when water destroys the interior of the building due to a frozen pipe. Also, you may be left without rental income while your property is being repaired unless you’ve purchased the proper insurance for that. I have way too many stories for this particular example – please – I don’t need any new ones. Thank you.
- The bonus room over the garage, and the garage itself. Are there pipes in those walls? These spaces will freeze first. Make sure any exposed pipes are insulated. And maintain the heat in areas where it’s possible to do so. My sister had no idea that a significant water pipe ran through the wall of her garage and bonus room – until it burst and flooded half of her house. Have you ever seen a car completely encased in ice, inside a garage? I have. It’s not pretty.
These are simple things that even the most un-savvy of homeowners and business owners can easily accomplish. The bottom line – keep the heat on, and have a frozen free winter.