The Importance of Preventing Frozen Pipes in Winter, and Your Legal Options if it Occurs

So you’ve taken every possible precaution and preventive measure, but your pipes have frozen – and possibly burst – anyway. Who is legally responsible for the repairs?

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When winter comes around, making sure that your home is properly prepared is of paramount importance. If the correct precautions are not taking by either you or your landlord, serious damage can occur that can cost you a great deal of money at a time when the economy is still struggling due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Especially frigid winter weather can cause catastrophic damage to your home in the form of frozen pipes; in a worst-case scenario, they can even burst, leading to flooding and exorbitant water damage to one of the biggest investments that you’re ever likely to make in your lifetime: your home. However, there should be no worries if you happen to take the proper precautions to make sure that your home’s pipes are properly protected against the elements this winter season.
One common misconception about frozen pipes is that they will only occur during the harshest of winters; however, this misconception will be laid bare when and if it happens to you during even a mild winter, as frozen pipes can take place simply whenever temperatures drop, regardless of how much.
As for the proper precautions to take when it comes to winterizing your home’s pipes, we recommend the following steps:
  • Make sure your heat is on. Sure, the prevailing advice for energy efficiency concerns is to keep the temperature down and put on a sweater, but when it comes to your pipes it’s best to endure a slightly higher utility bill to ensure peace of mind. After all, keeping your heat on – even at a moderate level, say at or above 50 degrees – can go a long way to keeping your home’s pipes from freezing.
  • Dripping faucets can be a good thing. Keeping your faucet open slightly – just enough to cause a slight drip – can often help a great deal when it comes to prevent pipes from freezing, since it not only keeps water flowing, but also relieves pressure that could eventually result in a pipe bursting.
  • Expose your home’s internal pipes to heat whenever possible. Got pipes inside cabinets or within cupboards? It’s recommended that you open those doors up and expose those pipes to your home’s ongoing heat, which will obviously go a long way to preventing them from getting cold and eventually freezing.
  • Keep up with home maintenance. It’s vital that you seal up any cracks and holes around your pipes in order to ensure that they are properly insulated, both inside and out. Any area where cold can get at your pipes is an avenue where they can freeze and, potentially, burst.
  • Heating tape can be a lifesaver. An obscure recommendation, but heating tape can really make the difference when it comes to proper home pipe maintenance and upkeep. Of the two types of heating tape available on the market, one will actively sense when the pipe in question’s temperature has lowered to the degree that will automatically turn it on, and the other will need to be manually activated at the user’s discretion. But either way, heating tape can make a huge difference in safeguarding the integrity of your home’s pipes.
  • Extra insulation is always a good thing. Pipes that are situated in areas without adequate insulation should always be attended to prevent them from freezing and potentially bursting. Foam rubber or fiberglass are two substances that can be very effective in protecting the integrity of your pipes, since they can assist in keeping your pipe the same temperature as the water that flows within it. However, if the pipe itself is consistently exposed to sub-freezing temperatures for an extended period of time, the amount of insulation will not matter that much.
So you’ve taken every possible precaution and preventive measure, but your pipes have frozen – and possibly burst – anyway. Who is legally responsible for the costs of repairs?
This can be a complex question with an even more complex answer. The damage caused by frozen and bursting pipes during the winter can lead to a great deal of liability issues. If you are a renter, you should make every effort to stay abreast of any provisions in your lease that could relate to damage caused to your home or apartment from cold-related issues.
If, however, you are the property owner, it’s important to know the ins-and-outs of whatever property insurance that you may have purchased in order to be aware of the degree of coverage that you may possess. After all, having the right coverage for the right situation is vital, especially when you are the owner of something as expensive as a home.
If you are impacted by bursting pipes this winter and another party is potentially liable for any damage that you have experienced, call the Long Island accident lawyer at 866-878-6774 now or fill out our simple form for a free consultation.