- What to do in case of freezing of a pipe?
- How to play my insurance?
- Some steps to take for the future
- Anticipate the next frost season by isolating your outdoor supply pipes: Our expert tells you how...
In winter, when the temperature drops below - 5° C, damage can be caused to the pipes. It is therefore advisable to protect them before the arrival of the cold weather to prevent them from freezing, bursting and causing water damage and expensive work. However, if you have not anticipated these climatic hazards and the freeze has attacked your water supply network, here is what you can implement and the procedure to follow your insurance.
Of the facilities most frequently affected by freezing, pipelines are on the front line. The gel can however reach the water meter - often placed outside - radiators and even the boiler! Isolate these facilities is therefore more than recommended, especially since these facilities are easy to implement and inexpensive.
The frost causes great damage to the pipes because the volume of the ice is greater than that of the water. Consequence: subject to excessive pressure, the hose can swell, deform and eventually give way. During the thaw, the water leaks and causes floods.
What to do in case of freezing of a pipe?
If, when you open your faucet, you notice that the water is not flowing, you are most certainly the victim of a pipe freeze. The latter may not affect your entire installation, but only a poorly insulated portion or passing through the outside. Similarly, the pipe will fortunately not burst. You can start by looking for where the ice cap has formed, but if this area passes inside a partition, you will not be able to access it. In this case, you really have no choice but to wait. Indeed, there will inevitably come a time when the water will become liquid again.
If you have located the frozen pipe section and it has not burst, you can warm it up with a hair dryer or by applying wet cloths with hot water. Caution: Due to the high risk of fire, never use a flame appliance, such as a torch, to heat your pipes!
When you have successfully increased the temperature of your pipe, a trickle of water should logically flow from your faucet. Then close your faucet slightly: the water must continue to flow but the net must remain thin even if the pipe thaws completely. Leave this stream of water running constantly: if the cold continues, the water flowing in continuity in the pipe will not freeze and pop your pipe. It is not very ecological, but the extra cost of water will be much less than the price of the refurbishment of your adduction system!
Another reflex to keep in mind: during the thaw, remember to completely close your water supply to avoid flooding.
How to play my insurance?
Damage caused by frozen pipes is extremely expensive to repair. If you are a tenant, you are responsible for the pipes in your home and therefore responsible for the damage. You can however turn against your landlord or lessor if you consider that the loss is due to a fault on his part (lack of maintenance, obsolescence etc.).
Whether you are a renter or landlord, in most cases, multi-risk home insurance (HRM) does not cover damage to outdoor facilities. The pipes inside the dwelling are normally covered by the insurance, but the contract may require the insured to have taken certain specific protective measures. These measures are indicated in the section "Damages to property" of the general conditions of the contract, under the headings "Water damage" and / or "Freezing". Be careful though: some insurers offer frost insurance only as an option. If you have not subscribed, no compensation will be granted.
If the leak does not concern you directly, for example because it occurred at a neighbor's house, you will first have to contact your insurer, who will compensate you directly if the amount of damage is less than 1,600 euros. If the claim is more serious, your insurer will turn against your neighbor's insurer and compensation may take longer...
Some steps to take for the future
Avoid the inconvenience during the next winters! Here's what you can do:
- If necessary, review your insurance contract for coverage that matches the risks involved;
- If you leave your home for more than four days, shut off the water supply to your home, regardless of the season. Your insurer may require this condition to be met to accept your indemnity, even if the loss occurs in the summer;
- Isolate your pipes and protect your meter, especially if it is in the open air. However, do not use moisture-absorbing materials such as glass wool or straw;
- Finally, during the cold season, remember to drain all the pipes in the open air, by cutting the stopcock of the meter (located between the meter and the public pipeline) and by opening all the external valves so to purge.