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State Farm shares Michigan frozen pipes claim data and tips as winter storms hit




According to our most recent claims data from State Farm, over 32,000 claims were filed nationwide between Aug 2022-August 2023 related to frozen pipes totaling over $806M in paid claims. Michigan ranks #11 with nearly $22M paid in claims to help over 690 Michigan homeowners recover and repair homes.

 

Residents are encouraged to take the following preventative measures to help reduce the risk of frozen water pipes and the resulting property damage. When temperatures dip below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, frozen pipes can occur in homes with both plastic and copper pipes. Did you know a 1/8" crack in a pipe can spray more than 250 gallons of water a day? Not only could this result in flooding, but also leave you with structural damage and the potential for mold. 

 

Tips to help prevent pipes from freezing

The three central causes of frozen pipes are quick drops in temperature, poor insulation, and thermostats set too low. You can prepare your home during the warmer months.

 

  • Insulate pipes in your home's crawl spaces and attic, even if you live in a climate where freezing is uncommon. Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing.

  • Use heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables to wrap on your pipes. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and only for the use intended (exterior or interior).

  • Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out.

  • Disconnect garden hoses and, if possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.

  • Let warm water drip overnight. A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing.

  • Keep your thermostat set above 55 degrees, even when on vacation or extended periods away from home.

  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.

What do to if pipes freeze

Pipes don't always burst when frozen. There are a few things to keep in mind, if they do:

 

  • Call a plumber if needed. If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and contact your plumber.

  • Avoid applying flames to thaw pipes. Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire hazard.

  • Consider a hair dryer as a possible heat source (with caution). You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe using a hair dryer. Before you start, see that you are not in or near standing water or near flammable materials. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.

  • Shut off the water supply. If your water leak detection system has already gone off or your pipes have burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house. See that everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it. Be sure to leave the water faucets turned on.

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