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Preventing Water Damage

from PLC Insurance

Mar 09, 2012

The winter season brings the potential of water damage from frozen or broken pipes, snow buildup and ice dams.   Follow these tips during the winter season, especially when it snows or freezes to prevent winter water damage.


Frozen Pipes –Any time the temperature drops below 32 degrees, there is potential for frozen pipes, especially outdoor pipes or indoor pipes located in poorly insulated areas.  Frozen pipes can cause thousands of dollars in damage.   To prevent damage:

-          Seal any cracks and holes to the outside of your home using a foam sealant.  Use a high quality caulking to seal around water, gas and other pipes.

-          Disconnect outdoor hoses.

-          Install foam rubber pipe insulation over pipes under your sinks, pipes in poorly insulated areas such as the garage, crawlspaces, attics and outdoor faucets. 

-          If you’re home, let cold and hot water faucets drip.  Running water helps prevent freezing pipes and reduces pressure build up.

-          Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to promote warm air circulation around the plumbing.

-          Install a water leak detection system to provide early frozen pipe warnings.

-          If you are going to leave your property unattended for a long period of time, be sure to drain the water supply system and shut off the water supply.


Snow Buildup – Snow buildup can occur in several ways, but can result in costly water damage if left unattended.  To prevent damage:

-          If there is too much snow accumulation on your roof, use a snow rake or contact a professional contractor to remove the snow.

-          Snow buildup around windows and against walls can lead to water damage inside the property.  Be sure to remove snow when large amounts begin to accumulate.


Ice Dams – ice dams occur when snow on a roof melts then refreezes at the edge of the roof or in the gutters.  Snow refreezing at the roofs edge creates an ice damn that blocks snowmelt from properly draining; this can allow water to seep in through the roof.  To prevent damage:

-          Add more insulation above ceilings to prevent heat from traveling to the roof and melting snow.

-          Maintain gutters and drains by removing all debris and vegetation.  Prune over hanging trees to prevent accumulation of debris and eventual clogs.


Winter isn’t the only time to think about prevention of costly water problems.   Keeping on top of potential water damage can save you time and money.  Even a small leak can turn into a major problem.


The best protection is to install an automatic leak detection and shutoff system.   These systems sense and detect water leaks and can be programmed to shut off water supply if it exceeds a certain level.


See Safeco’s website for tips to prevent water damage any time of year:



© 2019, PLC Insurance. The reader assumes all responsibilities for his/her own actions in regards to any items discussed in this report. Adherence to all applicable laws and regulations, federal, state and local, governing the use of any product or service described in this report in the US or any other jurisdiction is the sole responsibility of the reader. The publisher and author assume no responsibility or liability whatsoever on the behalf of the reader of these materials. The reader is encouraged to consult directly with his/her insurance professional.

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