Cold Weather and Water Damage: How to Prevent a Costly Holiday Cleanup

The news is often filled with stories about the carnage that floods and other natural disasters wreak on communities, including the impact of water damage on homes and businesses. But did you know that a busted pipe can cause as much damage to your home as a flooding river? Unlike the flood of a natural disaster, your plumbing problems usually strike without warning and may happen without your knowledge, even when you’re at home.

Winter Weather Can Be Hazardous to Your Pipes

While floods are more likely in spring and fall, winter weather is more likely to crack a pipe and cause water damage. This is especially true in the Northeast, including the greater Boston area, where winter time temperatures can plummet significantly. Many people try to reduce their heating bills by turning the heat off or down very low. This is a huge mistake because cold weather causes metal to contract and water to freeze, which can put enough stress on a pipe to cause it to burst. This is more likely to occur if you have poorly insulated pipes or a pipe with a pre-existing crack or pinhole leak. Since most of your plumbing is behind walls, the leaking can go on for hours undetected if you are at work or asleep and days if you are unlucky enough to be away for the winter holidays.  An undetected leak can quietly produce significant water damage to your home.

Sprinkler systems are also vulnerable to water damage during winter months due to falling temperatures and freezing pipes. Water left in sprinkler systems can freeze and cause a rupture, which can lead to water damage to your home’s foundation or to the home’s interior, resulting in significant property damage, a ruined yard and costly repairs.

What Can I Do to Protect My Pipes?

You can prevent cleanup headaches and costly repairs by making sure that your pipes are properly insulated and by maintaining an interior temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. One of the most effective preventative steps you can take is to turn on the cold water taps in your sinks to allow a small flow of water through your pipes whenever temperatures outside are forecast to drop significantly. Temperatures below 40 degrees can cause water to freeze and pipes to contract and burst. Keeping your taps running will reduce the likelihood that water will freeze and damage your pipes. You can also winterize your sprinkler system by installing an air compressor, which will force the water out of the pipes, eliminating the risk of water freezing and rupturing your pipes.

What to Do if You Find a Leak

If you detect a leak, take immediate steps to repair it. Contact a licensed plumbing contractor to assess the damage and repair it before your small leak results in mold or extensive structural damage to your property. Make October your month to inspect your pipes and winterize as necessary, and call in a professional to remove water from water lines feeding into your sprinkler system. After all, a little prevention is almost always cheaper than the cure.

We have been helping homes suffering from water damage for nearly two decades!  If your home is in need of water damage repair or restoration give us a call at 1-800-847-0114 or check us out on Facebook at  Our trained professionals are prepared to help you and your family save your home and your peace of mind!