Last updated: December 04. 2013 1:45PM - 575 Views

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According to the National Weather Service, extreme cold and winter storms in 2012 resulted in more than $200 million in property damage.

With freezing temperatures expected in the coming weeks, the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) reminds families that one of the most serious threats to the home can be frozen water pipes. When water freezes in a pipe it expands and can exert pressure over 2,000 pounds per square inch. This pressure is enough to rupture most any pipe filled with water. When the pipe bursts it can spill several hundred gallons of water per hour, resulting in the second most common cause of home insurance claims in America.

With just three simple steps, families can protect themselves from this costly damage. Remember: Foam, Dome and Drip.

Foam: Insulate pipes exposed to the elements or cold drafts. For as little as $1 per 6 feet of insulation, you can stop pipes from freezing and save energy. By keeping your water warmer, you reduce the amount of energy needed to heat water in the cold, winter months.

Dome: Placing an insulating dome or other coverings on outdoor faucets and spigots also reduce the likelihood of the water in your homes pipes freezing, expanding and causing a costly leak.

Drip: Drip your faucets, to you reduce the build-up of pressure in the pipes. Even if the pipes freeze, you have released the pressure from the water system reducing the likelihood of a rupture. If you are going out of town, and you suspect they temperatures will drop, turn off the water to your home and open all of the taps to drain the water system. This way you won’t return to a frozen, soggy mess.

For more information on protecting your home from extreme cold conditions, visit www.flash.org. For severe weather alerts and mitigation tips, download FLASH Weather Alerts smartphone app at www.flashweatheralerts.org.


Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is the country’s leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters. FLASH collaborates with more than 100 innovative and diverse partners that share its vision of making America a more disaster‐resistant nation.

In 2008, FLASH opened the interactive weather experience StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Learn more about FLASH and gain access to its free consumer resources by visiting www.flash.org or calling 877-221- SAFE-7233. Also, get timely safety tips to ensure that you and your family are protected from natural and man-made disasters by subscribing to the FLASH blog – Protect Your Home in a FLASH.

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