The Thaw is Coming

As we are all aware, the past several days across Oregon have been bitterly cold.  Insurance companies across the state have already seen several claims related to pipes breaking and water loss damage.

Here are a few items to remember when preparing your buildings after this cold spell:

  • Assess the situation and make sure heating systems and water pipes are working.
  • Conduct a thorough inspection of your buildings and facilities, especially after the buildings have been unoccupied for several days to determine if water is leaking anywhere.  Make sure to get in all the nooks and crannies to verify that water/sprinkler pipes are not broken.
  • Know where your shutoff valves are in the event you find a leak and need to shut off the water.
  • Clear drains of ice and snow to allow for the water to drain.  If the roof is pitched and without drains, open paths to eves to ensure drainage and prevent puddling.
  • Check pressure vessel (water heaters, boilers) vents, relief/safety valves to make sure parts are functional and openings are not obstructed.
  • Thaw frozen piping and equipment carefully to avoid damage.  Do not use open flames to avoid a fire hazard. Do not use electricity to thaw pipes. Consult a professional if necessary.
  • Have the names and phone numbers of your heating, plumbing, electrician, fire department, insurance agent and disaster recovery provider handy at all times.
  • Homeowners need to limit their exposure to the cold, especially if it is windy.  Many tasks can be divided into shorter segments to allow for warming breaks.

Adapted from the SDAO Bulletin titled “The Thaw Is Coming!”