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Water Damage from Broken Pipes Increases during Winter Months

During winter months N.E Ohio temperatures can cause more problems than just rising electric bills and driving up fuel costs. Pressurized indoor plumbing lines and connections exposed to extreme cold may expand and break releasing large volumes of water into attics, basements and living areas throughout homes. Within minutes water can travel from upstairs to downstairs, through walls, along foundation slabs and damage the structural integrity of residential and commercial buildings if not properly mitigated.

These arctic type temperatures following a front can move into our region of Ohio and cause severe damage to homes & businesses. Water damage resulting from frozen/broken pipes can cause tremendous damage if not detected as well as potential serious health & safety risk if not mitigated properly.

Certainly prevention is the main defense against broken pipes and water damage. By installing thicker grades of insulation in attics and between ceilings and walls a homeowner runs less of a risk but this requires added costs and not always the route taken. The fact is frozen pipes break and water spills into residential and commercial living spaces each year.

Early detection and quick water mitigation can save literally tens of thousands of dollars for homeowners and insurance companies alike. One of the first assignments for any water damage restoration company is taking moisture readings of inside areas. Water that is visible is easy to detect with the naked eye. But untamed water can pass between walls, under floors and go undetected. This can pose a real problem because moisture undetected will be the incubus for water-borne mold spores to germinate and grow after the first 48 hours. Mold poses not only a health risk to occupants but also an enormous added cost to eradicate. Thereby mapping water migration and determining the levels of moisture in walls, ceilings, and floors paves the way for proper equipment set in place to dry out all structures, restore all contents and end the threat of further damage caused by mold.

Forces of nature are unpredictable at times and absolutely untamable. Just as swiftly a storm blows in it can blow out again. Unpredictable weather is a way of life here in Cleveland. Dealing with the aftermath is the part we can control. Local certified water damage restoration companies carry the knowledge, skills and experience to answer tough questions and develop a drying plan with desired results successfully restoring any building compromised by broken pipes. Look for the IICRC Certification to insure your calling the right company.

How to Not Have Your Hose Bib Freeze and Break

Winter temperatures in the Cleveland area can cause an outdoor hose bib to freeze and interior pipes to burst, something you can avoid by taking action before winter starts. If allowed to freeze, the water in the pipe increases in volume and is likely to leak into your basement, causing damage to floors, walls and insulation. Include protecting the hose bib in your list of routine autumn home-maintenance tasks, such as replacing furnace filters & wrapping exposed water lines with proper insulation.


  1. Prepare for freezes by purchasing foam insulator caps for your hose bib at a plumbing-supply or home-improvement store well before winter sets in. When a freeze is predicted, it’s usually too late to buy supplies, as stores quickly run out.
  2. Caulk around pipes where they enter the house, to seal any open spaces and stop cold air from entering. Close any vents in the foundation, but remember to open them again in spring to prevent mildew and rot.
  3. In late fall, after the watering season is over, remove the hose from the hose bib, drain it and store it indoors. Close the shutoff valve to the outdoor water supply, which is located inside the house, near the spot where the pipe to the hose bib exits the wall. Go outside and open the hose bib to allow any water still in the pipe to drain out. Close the bib.
  4. Cover the hose bib. Use insulated covers with foam edges that attach with string or rubber bands to the bib and snug up to the wall around it. If you don’t have those, cover the bib with an old bath towel, newspapers or a thick layer of rags. Secure a plastic bag over the insulating material with rubber bands and duct tape, to prevent it from getting wet and freezing.