06 February 2011

Tips for Dealing with Frozen Water Pipes

Tips for Dealing with Frozen Water Pipes : The winter weather across Southern Arizona this week is freezing plumbing lines in commercial and residential buildings as temperatures remain surprisingly low. To prevent pipes from freezing, bursting and causing water damage, Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona urges all home and business owners to take extra precautions by following the tips below provided by industry experts:

To prevent your pipes from freezing:

* Wrap all exposed pipes located outside or in unheated areas of the home.
* Remove garden hoses from outside faucets.
* Cover vents around the foundation of your home.
* Drip outside faucets 24 hours a day (5 drops per minute).
* Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls to allow heat in from inside the home.
* Shut off the water to washing machines in unheated garages.

If your pipes freeze and burst:

* Cut-off the water valve. If you are unable to locate or operate your cut-off valve, call your water provider immediately for help.
* Call your insurance agent to file a claim. Be sure to ask for specific procedures or paperwork needed to move forward with repairs.
* If possible, take photos of any water saturation. An insurance adjuster may need to see what’s been damaged in order to process your claim.
* As soon as the majority of water is drained away, all wet items should be discarded or cleaned and thoroughly dried within 48 hours of flooding to prevent the growth of mold, according to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

If hiring a plumber to help with repairs:

* Be wary of plumbers who show up unsolicited at your door offering to make repairs. Most reputable companies are too busy right now to solicit work in this manner.
* Beware of price gouging. Some businesses may be marking up their products or services by as much as 500 percent due to the high demand of plumbing services in the cold weather.
* Take time to shop around for plumbers get competitive bids, and check references and licensing requirements. Check a company’s rating with BBB to determine your level of trust.
* Request a written contract, detailing all services, materials and labor. Be sure the plumber signs your copy before you make any payments.
* Never pay for all repairs in advance and do not pay with cash.

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