Below-zero temperatures are in the forecast this week for the Madison, Wisconsin area. Needless to say, you’re likely reaching for those gloves and starting the car early before venturing out into the frigid Wisconsin winter.

While it’s difficult to walk out of your cozy home, remember, your home also needs extra protection from the cold. That’s the message from insurance agents who are warning homeowners about the dangers of frozen and burst pipes.

“What happens is, like during the last power outage, people (who were out of town) didn’t realize their power was out,” said Barbara Walker, vice president at the Hartland Insurance Agency. “If the power was out and their pump wasn’t working, they came back home to frozen pipes.”

Damage from burst pipes can be extremely costly to repair.

“Water in the basement can shut down your furnace. You can have all kinds of electrical issues; that can be dangerous,” Walker said. “And once you have water, it seeps into the walls, carpets, padding … water goes everywhere. You don’t know what could be damaged.”

A&J Property Restoration DKI’s owner, Kent Rawhouser has some recommendations for how to keep your pipes from freezing and bursting.

Kent recommends:

  • Making sure the outside faucets are turned off and the shut-off valves inside are also closed
  • Checking the insulation at points where pipes come into your house
  • Looking for cold drafts and finding their source
  • Ensuring all pipes are insulated properly
  • Don’t let the heat in your home drop below 55 degrees
  • Ask a friend to check your home every day while you’re traveling

“If you do have a pipe burst, take care of it right away. If you wait, insurance companies are less likely to cover it,” warns Rawhouser.

“If you have any fear at all (that something could be wrong), check it out,” Walker said. “Even if you have an incident, most people have a deductible, so it’s money out of your pocket.”

She also advises homeowners to check with their insurance agents to make sure they’re covered before such a disaster occurs.

As always, if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call! We’re here 24/7 to help you.