Winter Freeze Precautions!

January 29th, 2019

Most of us worry about the dangers of snow in the winter, but what about freezing?  The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety says a frozen pipe that bursts can cause more than $5,000 in water damage. “We see about 2,200 claims per day during an average January winter,” says Chris Zimmer, senior vice president of Claims Field Operations for Erie Insurance. “Many of them are due to frozen water pipes.” With the temperatures dropping, our Risk Control team put together some quick tips for your home and your business. 


For Your Home


With the temperature in the single digits, it’s important to prevent frozen household pipes. Frozen pipes are a problem by themselves because they prevent water flow, but even worse, frozen pipes can eventually burst, causing damage and potential flooding. Here are some steps to prevent this problem from occurring when the temperatures drop:

Frozen faucet in the winter


1. Add extra insulation. Protect your home by wrapping exposed pipes with insulation and eliminate sources of cold air near any waterlines. Pipes that are located in areas that do not have proper insulation, such as basements or attics, may need extra insulation to keep them from freezing.

2. Allow a small trickle of water to run overnight. The cost of the water is minimal compared to repairing the damage from bursting pipes.

3. Keep the heat on. If you plan to travel or leave for period of time, make sure that the heat is kept on your property. The heat does not have to be kept as high as you normally would keep it but setting it above 50 degrees is a good idea.

4. Keep interior doors open. Pipes are often located in cabinets. When the temperature drops, it is a good idea to keep these cabinet doors open so that the heat from the rest of the house can keep the pipes warm as well.


If your pipes do freeze, shut off water immediately at your home’s main shut off. Do not attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. To thaw pipes, apply heat from a hair dryer, space heater, or hot water. DO NOT USE a torch or open flame.



For Your Business


Too many businesses find themselves unprepared when normal winter weather suddenly turns extreme. During a severe cold spell, sprinkler or water pipes can freeze, burst, and produce devastating losses. Water damage from this type of incident, known as a freeze-up, can affect products in storage, paperwork, records, furniture, machinery, computers, and all types of electronic equipment. Any equipment that contains or uses water, produces condensate or depends on pneumatic controls is vulnerable to freezing. Here are some steps to prevent this problem from occurring when the temperatures drop:


open fire hydrant is releasing water

1. Drain the water from wet pipe sprinklers. If this is not done, ice plugs can obstruct the piping or possibly damage fittings and sprinklers.

2. Pay particular attention to attics, under floor spaces and entries that might not have adequate heating ducts. Make sure you provide heat to these areas on the coldest days/nights. 

3. Open any on-site fire hydrants and allow water to flow. This measure flushes any debris from the underground main and exercises the hydrant value. 

4. Inspect the building shell to minimize unnecessary openings. Fix windows and doors so they close tightly, as well as close and seal unneeded dampers, louvers, and vents. 


Gunn Mowery offers insurance for both homes and businesses. Contact us today to learn more.




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Jamie Mowery Lewis

Marketing Executive

Jamie joined the Gunn-Mowery team as their marketing executive in 2016, after previously working as an event coordinator for the Central Penn Business Journal and the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association. As the Marketing Executive, she is the main point of contact for external communications, community relations and media inquiries. She takes pride in enhancing the Gunn-Mowery brand, including the website, social media platforms, design and marketing campaigns. Jamie is a member of the Leadership Harrisburg Area Community Leadership Series Class of 2019 and is the Chair of the Gunn-Mowery Upside of Giving committee. She attended West Chester University of Pennsylvania where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications

When she’s not in the office, you can find Jamie spending time with family, friends and her beagle, Lexie. She loves being outdoors, whether it’s on her farm, playing golf, relaxing on the beach, or cheering on the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley.

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