Freezing Temps Break Water Pipes across Texas

01/19/2018

Several days of subfreezing temperatures resulted in frozen water pipes which are now leaking in homes across the state. With temperatures now warming above the freezing mark, homeowners are discovering water leaks and rushing to call plumbers for help.

By Thursday morning, more than 3,000 insurance claims from broken water pipes had been reported with many more insurance claims expected as the temperature continues to rise. The bulk of the claims have been in Houston and Dallas.

“Water claims can be expensive and the sooner a homeowner can detect a leak, the better,” said Mark Hanna, a spokesperson for the Insurance Council of Texas. “Undetected, oftentimes for days, water leaks can destroy walls and flooring.”

The damage from a leaking water pipe can easily cost thousands of dollars. While most residential property policies offer water damage protection, it’s always a good idea to verify the coverage with your agent or insurance company.

If homeowners detect any sign of a possible water leak or damage, they should locate and shut off the home’s main water valve to prevent or contain any further damage. The first signs of possible trouble may be the water line to a sink or toilet that is frozen.

“We have been swamped with calls from people with either frozen pipes or water pipes that are leaking,” said Tara Holman with Johnny Rooter Plumbing in Austin. “All of our plumbers are really busy and working all hours to help our customers."

Holman said many of those who have called for help have either seen water leaking, heard it or seen their water meter spinning without any water tap running.

If you have water damage, ICT recommends that you:

  • Try to dry out the affected areas to prevent potential problems with mold and mildew
  • If possible, remove any excess water
  • Remove any personal belongings from the affected area to prevent further damage; and
  • Take photos to document the damage.

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