Does a home warranty cover frozen pipes?
If you live in an area that has heavy winters, you are familiar with preparing your pipes for the extreme cold. Without turning off the water and properly draining your pipes for the season, a summer home could experience frozen or burst pipes, requiring significant or costly repairs.
Turning on a faucet and getting no water while the main water line is on can indicate a frozen pipe. In this instance, there are some things that you can do in order to source the frozen or broken pipe and get the water circulating again. If the pipe burst or a part of your plumbing has been damaged, then you could face a large expense in rectifying the damage.
Getting a home warranty with coverage for frozen pipes can save a lot of money, stress and hassle. If you’re not sure where to start, this article will help.
The most common kinds of damage frozen pipes can cause to a home
Frozen pipes can lead to a major disaster in a home that has little to no insulation and experiences an extreme winter. There are steps you can take to reduce the potential of a pipe freezing, but sometimes it cannot be prevented.
The most common type of damage that a home might experience due to a frozen pipe is a burst pipe. If any water is in the pipe and it freezes, that water has the potential to completely block the pipe. This ice block will continue to freeze and expand within the pipe, which would lead to changes in water pressure at a point between the blockage and the faucet.
What is typically included in a home warranty for coverage of frozen pipes?
When thinking about a home warranty for frozen pipes, you’ll want to consider what kind of plumbing coverage the home warranty plan provides, as your pipes are part of your plumbing system.
A home warranty plan will typically cover the following issues unique to plumbing systems:
- Leaks and ruptures in your home's pipes
- Old or worn-out valves, faucets or showerheads
- Faulty switches, pumps and motors, like those found in many bathtubs
- Blockages in the sink, shower, tub or toilet
If you properly maintain your plumbing system, then your warranty plan will be able to step in when a problem occurs. So, if you have home warranty coverage for frozen pipes, your home warranty company will expect that you have at least completed basic maintenance on your plumbing as well as tried to prepare for winter as best you can.
Some home warranty companies will be able to offer coverage for water pipe damage due to freezing. They might also be able to replace the pipes that were damaged and test your water line to make sure it is working properly.
Note that a home warranty only applies when the covered appliance or home system is properly maintained and if the item was not affected by a major accident or disaster. If there was an environmental disaster of some sort, then you will need to look into whether or not your homeowners insurance covers the issue.
Preventing frozen pipes
There are a handful of things you can do to try to avoid frozen pipes. These include:
- Closing the garage door. This will keep the garage warmer and is particularly significant if you have a water supply line running into the house through the garage.
- Opening kitchen and cabinet doors. Opening these doors will allow warm air to circulate around the pipes and is most important to do if you have a sink or plumbing fixture on an exterior wall.
- Letting water drip from a faucet connected to exposed pipes. Keeping the tap open with just a drip or a trickle can keep water moving and prevent freezing.
- Maintaining a consistent temperature. While people often lower the thermostat at night to save on heating costs, try not to do it during a particularly cold spell. Nighttime temperatures can hit startling lows and may cause things to freeze overnight. If you are going to be away for the winter, set the temperature no lower than 55℉.
- Adding insulation. If you have an attic, basement or crawl space without insulation, add insulation to prevent drafts. Also, seal any cracks or openings around windows.
Thawing a frozen pipe
If you go to turn on the water but nothing comes out and you’ve checked that your water line is on, you could experience a frozen pipe. There are several different things that could happen at this point.
Be aware of the following:
- The pipe directly connected to the faucet that you checked may not have the blockage.
- There could be more than one area in your plumbing that is frozen.
- Moving water through your pipes can begin to thaw the blockage, but note that it will change the pressure in the pipe.
You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe on your own without calling in a professional. Start by turning on all the faucets in your home to isolate which faucets have water flowing and which ones do not. Your main water line should be on.
If the problem exists in more than one pipe, then it is likely that you will need to call a professional.
If only one pipe is frozen, then leave the other faucets on to drip so the moving water thaws the blocked portion. Be ready to turn off the water with the nearest water shut-off valve if a break occurs once the water starts flowing.
Again, if you only have one frozen pipe and no plumbing has burst after turning on the water, then you can pull out the hairdryer. Only do this if you are certain there is no water in the area and no leakages. If a leak appears, shut off all water to the house and unplug the hairdryer.
Locate the pipe that is frozen, and use the hairdryer to warm it up. Start at the faucet and then work your way back. Keep warming with the hairdryer until full water pressure returns.
Once full water pressure is reached, leave the faucet dripping until the temperature is above freezing.
If you think that there is more than one pipe restricted, be sure to call a plumber, shut off your main water line and keep the faucet open. You’ll want to assess the damage and mitigate quickly so that you don’t experience water damage in your home, which could lead to mold and rot.
Best home warranty plans with coverage of frozen pipes
If you need your home warranty to offer coverage for a frozen pipe, then there are some things that you’ll need to consider. Coverage for frozen pipes is not always automatic, so you might have to consider purchasing additional coverage for frozen pipe damage.
As a homeowner, one of the best things you can do for your home is to be proactive. Reach out to Cinch Home Services to find home warranty coverage with straightforward contract terms and conditions and options that can satisfy any budget.
Get a quote for a home warranty, and start protecting your home today.