Water pipes can freeze in parts of the country known for very cold weather, but not always.
State Farm Insurance has released a top 10 list of the states most affected by frozen pipe losses. It is serving as a stark reminder that it’s not just the parts of the US known for the coldest weather that can be affected by this costly damage.
Homes with both copper and plastic water pipes can suffer from damage from freezing and bursting.
Frozen pipe losses aren’t as simple to repair and clean up as a dripping faucet. Dealing with the situation can often go well beyond simply phoning a local plumber. A crack in a pipe as small as 1/8 of an inch can pour out up to 250 gallons of water per day. In a home, this can lead to massive flooding, potentially catastrophic structural damage, and an instant risk of mold growth, reminded the State Farm report.
In the winter, claims from freezing are the most common form of water damage. Last year, the insurance company paid over $50 million in US homeowners’ insurance claims (including condo and renters’ policies) relating to cracked and bursting pipes from freezing. That said, State Farm’s report reminds homeowners and business owners as well as insurance agents that this type of disaster is frequently avoidable.
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Frozen pipe losses are the direct result of increased pressure due to the expansion water turning to ice.
Inside a building’s water pipes, as water freezes, it expands. When it’s trapped within those pipes, pressure continues building from the expansion into ice, until the pipe can no longer hold it and it splits. That said, a few very simple steps can usually avoid this entirely, reminded the insurance company.
This can be as simple as leaving a faucet to drip instead of turning it off entirely. That way, water will continue slowly moving through the pipe, making it harder to freeze. That open faucet will also function as a release, preventing the built-up pressure that leads to frozen pipe losses.
State Farm identified the following states as those experiencing claims totalling the highest frozen pipe losses. They were:
- Illinois – $7.3 million
- New York – $6.8 million
- Michigan – $5.7 million
- Colorado – $4.7 million
- Minnesota $3.9 million
- Alaska $3.0 million
- New Jersey $2.0 million
- Maine $1.7 million
- Indiana $1.7 million
- Pennsylvania $1.7 million