What to do When you Lose Power in Frigid Temperatures

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After being hit with well over a foot of snow last week, Chicago residents started this week with  temperatures dipping into the negative double digits, colder than it’s been here in over 20 years!  As a result of the storm and high volume usage, many residents lost power and heat.  When temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit inside your home, exposed pipes, sewage systems and appliances may be damaged.  If you lose heat for a substantial period of time, or if pipes run through unheated or poorly insulated parts of your home (crawl spaces, floors over garages, within outside walls), your pipes could freeze.  Our friends at Paul Davis Restoration sent us a few tips on and what to do if your pipes have frozen, and how to prevent the situation if you lose power.

If your pipes are frozen:

  •  Shut off water supply and open faucets to the frozen pipes.
  • Warm pipes using a heat lamp, blow dryer or portable heater.  Apply moderate heat to warm slowly (this process could take several hours). Do not use propane torches, boiling water or an open flame to thaw pipes.
  • Open under-sink cabinets to allow a flow of warm air.
  • If pipes have burst, immediately shut off the water supply and contact a plumber.

How to prevent frozen pipes during a power failure:

  • Shut off your home’s main water supply.
  • Drain all appliances that use water, including toilets, water softening units, drain traps, sump pumps, heaters, humidifiers and dishwashers.
  • Turn off your water heater.  If the water heater is left on and there is no water in the system, an explosion could result.
  • Open all faucets on the lower level, then the upper level of your house.  It’s a good idea to collect the water for household use during the power failure.
  • Insulate pipes that cannot be drained around their main valves.  Use newspaper, blankets, rags or housing insulation, if available.

If you have experienced damage to your home as a result of burst pipes, and need to file a claim, contact your agent.




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