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Avoid frozen pipes this winter

In an uncertain world, there’s one fact we know for certain—pipes will freeze when the weather becomes cold. Church Mutual Insurance Company receives hundreds of claims involving frozen pipes and sprinkler systems each winter. While your insurance covers this unfortunate occurrence, it’s a much better situation for your organization if you take precautions to prevent the problem in the first place. Church Mutual has compiled this list of important steps to lower your risk of frozen pipes:

  1. Keep the building temperature above 55 degrees. Do not turn your heat off completely—even when your building will be unoccupied for a long period of time. Also, during periods of extreme cold, discontinue the use of lower nighttime temperatures. A cold building is the single greatest risk factor for frozen pipes.
  2. Add insulation to attics and crawl spaces. Without insulation, the heat your system generates will escape through the attic and crawl space. During periods of extreme cold, you should also insulate your pipes.
  3. Keep your doors and windows tightly closed. Look for drafts and cold air leaks—even a small leak could lead to frozen pipes. When you close doors, double check to ensure they are completely latched.
  4. Let a faucet drip to prevent pipes from freezing. During periods of extreme cold, this practice can relieve pressure and prevent pipes from bursting. It should be a faucet furthest from the building's water source if possible. It's also recommended to open cabinet doors to allow warm air to reach the pipes at all faucet locations.
  5. Consider turning off your water. If your building will not be in use for a period of time, you may want to turn off the water and drain your pipes to decrease your risk of freezing. In this case, you should designate someone to visit the building every few days to check for signs of a drop in temperature and water damage. After shutting off water to the building, make sure there is no standing water in the pipes by running all faucets and/or blowing out the lines with compressed air. 
  6. Install a temperature alert system. During the night or when your building is closed for an extended period of time, a temperature alert system can notify you of conditions that could cause frozen pipes, such as a faulty heating system. Church Mutual provides CM Sensor, a temperature and water alert system, at no additional charge for eligible customers.

If your pipes do freeze, open the faucets on frozen fixtures to relieve pressure and prevent pipes from bursting. Soak rags in hot water and wrap them around the frozen pipes. Use a space heater in particularly cold areas, and open cabinet doors to allow warm air to reach the pipes.

In the event of a burst pipe, turn off your water immediately and call a plumber. This is where your insurance comes into play: Church Mutual offers comprehensive insurance that can protect your organization and building when situations such as frozen pipes occur.

Learn more about how you can prevent frozen pipes and find the insurance you need at Church Mutual's website here