Preventing Frozen Pipes and Ice Dams

Winter is the time of year to enjoy
skiing, skating, sledding and snow days, but if you’re not careful, your winter
fun can quickly slide away down a big sheet of ice. In fact, did you know the
cost for a homeowner to clean up and repair ice dams and burst frozen pipes
can run in the tens of thousands of dollars? So as the temperature drops,
let’s warm up with some winter safety tips from a Meemic Academy pro. I’m here with Chris at the Meemic Academy. Now, Chris, I hear that you are the resident guru of
ice dams and frozen pipes. Where do they come from? So ice dams are a pretty common
occurrence, especially in northern states that experience pretty harsh winters.
Basically, when an ice dam forms, snow melts into water, the water pools up in
the gutter and then refreezes as ice. Over time, that ice tends to build up and
put a ton of stress and strain on the gutter itself. Eventually, that ice will
expand into the house through the roof joints and do major damage. They’re so
common, I would bet there’s even some houses in your neighborhood that have
ice dams.
Let’s talk about frozen pipes. Yeah, frozen pipes can actually be devastating. They’re one of
the biggest and most costly claim types that insurance companies see during the
winter season. Basically what happens is if you leave your house for an extended
period of time and the temperature inside your house gets too low, any water
that’s left in your pipes can freeze as ice . The expansion of that ice can
cause the pipes to burst, causing water to leak everywhere in your home. That’s
why we always tell our members to keep their homes at at least 55 degrees when
they leave for an extended period of time.
Because frozen pipes, it’s all about the temperature.
OK, so I keep my house pretty cold. What was the temperature you said? Fifty-five degrees. See that’s the thing,
there’s no exact science to it. It depends on a ton of factors: the
temperature outside, how much water is in your pipes and even the size of your
OK, frozen pipes — prevention: Go! Sure, there’s actually a lot of
things that people can do to prevent frozen pipes that are pretty simple. FIrst and foremost, make sure that the temperature inside your house is always
set to at least 55 degrees. The next thing, you
need to be aware of any water pipes that run along exterior walls. You also need
to make sure that all of your water pipes run through insulated or heated
parts of your home. And finally, if you’re going to be leaving for an extended
period of time, be sure to drain all the water out of
your pipes, including your water heater. OK, so we’ve talked about preventing the
frozen pipes; let’s talk about preventing ice dams.
Sure, there’s a lot of ways to prevent ice dams. First and foremost, make sure your gutters are kept clean,
especially if you live in an area of the state that has a lot of leaf fall or
dirty gutters. The other thing you can do is when there is snow fall, make sure
that you broom or rake the snow off of your roof. And then finally, if you do
develop a little bit of ice on the roof, a couple of tablets of calcium chloride,
if you toss them up there, it should help melt the ice.
Both ice dams and frozen pipes are very serious problems. The good news is both can be easily
fixed with some simple maintenance and prevention. So let’s recap: Prevent frozen
pipes by always keeping the temperature inside your house set to at least 55
degrees. Also be sure that all water pipes run through heated and insulated
parts of your home. And if you’re going to be traveling for any significant
period of time, be sure to drain the water from all
pipes and even your hot water heater. When it comes to ice dams, remember to
keep your gutters clean. Also remove excess snow from your roof with a broom
or rake, and if ice does build up, a few tablets of calcium chloride thrown on
the ice will typically melt it. Make sure you do this while firmly on the ground.
Climbing around on an icy roof is a bad idea. But that’s a whole other video.
These simple steps can help ensure that the only ice you will be dealing with
this winter will be down at the local skating rink. Interested in learning more
about winter safety? Be sure to visit

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