Tips offered to keep pipes from freezing in winter weather

February 13, 2014

NORWALK, Conn. (BUSINESS WIRE) — Extreme winter temperatures this year have increased the incidence and news of water main breaks and flooding throughout many parts of the country. HomeServe USA (HomeServe), a leading provider of home emergency repair service plans, wants homeowners to know that municipalities and utility companies are not the only ones dealing with this challenge — household piping systems are also susceptible to damage from this brutally cold weather.

HomeServe is providing information and tips regarding how frozen water pipes occur, and what homeowners can do to minimize the risk of damage to their water pipes.

Which pipes could be at risk for freezing during cold weather?

If your water pipes come up from an un-insulated crawl space, or if they are in or close to an outside wall or a vent, they have a greater chance of freezing and bursting in cold weather.

What can I do if I suspect that my pipes might freeze?

If the temperature drops suddenly for an extended period, setting your faucet to a steady drip or slow trickle to keep the water flowing could minimize the risk of freezing or a break. Insulating the pipes can also help in areas where they are most prone to freezing. Pipe insulation is easy to apply and available at most hardware stores and home centers.

What should I do if I suspect that my pipes have frozen overnight?

If you turn on the faucet and no water comes out, leave the faucet open/running slightly while you explore the problem. Don’t shut off the water or you will create more pressure in the pipe, which may cause it to burst. Slowly warming the pipe using a portable space heater in the area near the pipe, or by using a hair dryer will generally cure the problem and get the water flowing again. Consider insulating the area to prevent further occurrences.

What about pipes outside serving my home? Are they at risk too?

Yes. With extreme cold temperatures occurring in many areas of the country, the frost line is moving deeper. This, along with shifting soil, can affect service piping of all ages and types. Because many basic homeowners insurance policies do not cover the water line that runs from the home to the street, planning ahead with a service plan is a great option to help manage the expensive cost and inconvenience of an underground leak. HomeServe offers water service line plans for about $5 a month that will cover the cost and provide the repairs when a leak or break on this piping occurs. In the event that a repair is needed, HomeServe quickly dispatches a licensed, qualified local contractor to make the necessary repairs.

HomeServe provides more than 1.5 million customers in the US and Canada affordable emergency repair service plans that protect homeowners from the expense and inconvenience of these kinds of emergency repairs. HomeServe customers have access to a US-based Repair Hotline that is staffed and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to bring locally based licensed and insured contractors right to the customer’s home.

This week, homeowners in many areas of the country are receiving information in the mail about HomeServe’s water service line coverage. For more information about this and other HomeServe coverage options, homeowners can visit