Prevent freezing attic pipes

Posted by Matt Buchanan

How’s this sound? It’s winter, you live in the cozy confines of your suburban home in the heart of the South. You’re sound asleep at night, dreaming of a wood-burning fire and some hot cocoa. Then all of sudden in your dream you hear the faint sound of rain drops. Then you start to feel them on your face. Then you wake up and think ‘gosh, that was weird!’ You shake your head, rub your eyes and decide you might as well use the restroom while you’re up. Then you put your feet on the floor and feel water and hear a splash. Then all of sudden, you really wake up…sure enough, it’s raining inside your home! What in the world is going on? Well, tens of thousands of dollars in water damage, that’s what!

The above nightmare happened to my sister-in-law last winter. There ended up being over $40,000 in damages and they had to move out of their house in the middle of winter with a newborn. Does that sound like something you would like to avoid? If so, please read on…


Do you have plumbing pipes in your attic?


frozen-pipe-burstIn states that see cold winters, you never see plumbing pipes in attics, and for good reason. But in the South, it’s not uncommon for homes that are built on a slab foundation to have plumbing systems and pipes in the attics. It’s a logical place to house these key elements of the home, but the gamble is they’ll be safe there. And for the most part, there is never an issue. That is, until that freak cold system blows through and causes extremely low temperatures.

Have you ever been up to your attic? If not, peek your head up there and see what you find. If you notice plumbing pipes that are fully exposed to the elements, understand that you are playing a game of water damage Russian Roulette and eventually you will lose.


Insulate any attic pipes that transfer water!


If you look up in your attic and find exposed pipes, you really need to take immediate action. Luckily the cold weather hasn’t hit yet, so you’ve got some time to protect your home against flooding. Here is what you need to do:

Go to your local home improvement store and buy some pipe insulation material. It’s not very expensive and it’s extremely easy to place over your pipes. You just need to make sure that you don’t leave any area exposed, including joints where sections of pipe connect. So before you go to the store, you need to go up into your attic and take inventory.

How many linear feet of piping do you need to insulate?  How many T-joints are there? Any rounded joints? Add up everything and make sure you’ve got a complete list of everything you need. If you’re anything like me, you’ll end up taking 5 or 6 trips to the store for what should have been a fairly easy home improvement project. So do as I say, not as a I do and make sure you’ve done your homework before you go to the store!

In one Saturday’s worth of work, you can end up saving yourself thousands of dollars. Because the reality is if you end up with a burst pipe in your attic due to freezing, the amount of water damage is going to be extensive. Within minutes, water will travel throughout your attic, down your wall cavities and through your ceiling. It can potentially flood every floor of your home within a few minutes. And let’s assume your home is worth $300,000. It’s highly likely your insurance deductible is 1% of your home’s value, meaning right off the bat you’re out $3,000 for the fixes. And that water damage cost doesn’t include the emotional toll of dealing with the extensive repair process it’s going to require to fix your home.


Have you suffered water damage from a frozen attic pipe?


free-water-removal-estimateIf you find yourself dealing with the nightmare situation highlighted at the top of this blog post, please stay calm. Right now the best thing you can do is call for experience, competent help that can begin the water extraction process immediately. At RestorationEze, our specialty is dealing with emergencies like yours. We have literally seen it all. So if you have home flooding from a frozen pipe in your attic, please give us a call immediately.

Within 60 minutes we can have a team at your home to perform an exhaustive diagnosis to determine where the water has gone. We can begin the water mitigation process immediately and can then work with your insurer to make sure your claim is handled properly and that the bill for our work is paid by them, not you!

About Matt Buchanan

I grew up in Irving, TX and left for Nashville, TN for college. After college I lived in Washington, DC and then in Cairo, Egypt. After coming back to the states, I spent a couple of years back in Dallas before moving with my wife to Denver!
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