December 30, 2017 - Columbia, SC – As temperatures head into a deep freeze across the Palmetto State, South Carolina’s largest home insurer says homeowners face a high risk of seeing frozen pipes next week. Experts at State Farm say when the outside temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 6 degrees Celsius), water pipes in homes with little or no insulation are likely to freeze and break. In fact, a one-eighth inch (3-millimeter) crack in a pipe can spew out more than 250 gallons of water a day, destroying floors, furniture, appliances and personal items. “This type of water can cause extensive damage in a short amount of time,” says State Farm spokesman Roszell Gadson.
There are two simple tasks homeowners can do in about two minutes that can help protect pipes and homes when a severe freeze is predicted: (1) open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to piping under sinks and vanities near exterior walls, and (2) run a small trickle of water at vulnerable cold and hot faucets.
It may also be a good idea to maintain adequate heat inside your home. Set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees (12 degrees Celsius).
According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, claim payments by all insurance companies over the past decade for these kinds of losses have exceeded $4 billion.
Long term, homeowners can avoid frozen pipes by having adequate insulation where pipes run along outside walls, floors and ceilings. They can disconnect outside garden hoses, wrap exposed pipes with insulating sleeves or tape, and seal foundation cracks that let arctic air freeze pipes in crawlspaces.