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Freeze! Protect Your Home from Cold Weather

Wrapping pipes and draining faucets can help prevent broken pipes and leaks in the winter months. (scarab/morguefile)
January 18. 2016
Wrapping pipes and draining faucets can help prevent broken pipes and leaks in the winter months. (scarab/morguefile)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Winter is off to a slow start this year, but with temperatures dropping in parts of the state, experts recommend making sure your home is ready for Jack Frost.

The Insurance Information Institute says water damage and freezing account for almost 22 percent of all homeowners' insurance claims. Frozen pipes are a common cold weather problem, and Kristin Davis, family and consumer sciences extension agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, says those have to be addressed well before the mercury drops.

"It's really important to keep an eye on the weather, because protecting your pipes is something that's better done as a preventive measure," she says. "Typically, insulating the pipes that are running on the perimeter of the home."

In addition to wrapping exposed pipes, Davis says it's important to seal air leaks around pipes that may allow cold air to seep into the rest of the house. She says you should also disconnect garden hoses and shut off and drain any water from pipes leading to the home's exterior.

Davis says beyond concerns over freezing pipes, it's a good idea to examine the exterior and surroundings of your home, before and immediately after a storm.

"One of the things that's important is making sure that we're also looking at if there are any roof leaks, and if there are any tree branches that may be leading towards the home," says Davis. "After a winter storm, citizens find out about trees that are diseased, or that have been damaged from the heavy ice."

Experts also recommend checking sprinkler or irrigation systems, making sure everything is turned off and drained for the winter.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC