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Your Building in Winter

Even though we are in the South,  we stil get a few times during the Winter where the temperature is below freezing so we have to be prepared for those times.  It’s going to freeze—there’s no way around it so know how to prepare.

One of the most common causes of damage to buildings during the colder months is freezing and bursting pipes. As a building owner, there are measures you can take to prevent pipes from freezing; however, sometimes the worst happens anyway. If it does, the result can be thousands of dollars of damage to your building, furniture, electronics, and other property.

-Locate the turnoff valve and drain the lines.

-Protect spigots with Styrofoam attachments for a few dollars. These can be purchased at most home improvements stores and offer much better insulation than wrapping the spigot with a towel.

-Search for pipes that are not insulated. These pipes may pass through unheated areas, such as crawlspaces, basements or garages. Pre-molded foam rubber sleeves can be fitted to the pipe and offer essential insulation to keep them from freezing. Fiberglass insulation is also an option. You may also consider wrapping the pipe with heating tape.

As winter begins to recede, the risk of damage from freezing pipes fades with it. However, melting snow and ice bring a new concern for building owners—flood damage to property resulting from the runoff of the melt. In many areas of the country, snowmelt is a greater threat for flooding than any other source. The bad news is that flood resulting from melting snow and ice is still considered a flood and, therefore, is not covered by standard  property insurance.

Coverage for this type of loss can be found only through a flood insurance policy.

Ice, sleet and snow can be incredibly destructive to your property. They can be the source of damage or amplify existing damage—for example, ice getting into a crack in a wall. Unfortunately, damage caused by ice, snow and sleet are not covered by most standard commercial property insurance policies. While some policies will cover damage resulting from the abrupt collapse of a building’s roof under the weight of ice, snow or sleet, others will not.

Protecting your building from harsh winter conditions takes a great deal of care. So does making sure your insurance responds if it turns out Old Man Winter packed a little more punch than you bargained for. For help in determining if your policy covers the winter damage you might experience, give your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent a call.

Other tips for Old Man Winter to do now:

    • Regrout your tubs. Grout wears down and will cause slow leaks through out your home.
    • Get your chimney inspected by a professional chimney sweep
    • Get your heater checked and inspected. Drain lines cleaned out.
      • Recaulk windows and other areas. The drought may have dried out some of the caulk. Recaulk will help keep the upcoming cold air, water and bugs out.
      • Clean out your gutter now as leaves are falling.
      • Change your air condition filters.
      • Prepare your fireplace: contact your professional chimney sweep for an annual inspection.
      • Check your clothes washer hoses to be sure they are in good condition as well as clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct, damper and space under the dryer.
      • Always test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.

    If you have questions about your home insurance, please contact Suzanne Brown at 713-899-4651
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