Winter tips for keeping pipes from freezing

Don’t Let the Cold Get to Your Pipes This Winter

It’s hard to think of a worse start to a winter day in Minnesota than turning on the faucet and … nothing. Maybe there’s a trickle of water, but it’s clear you have a frozen pipe. So, what now? Here are some smart tips to help you prevent or address what could easily become a very messy and expensive situation:

  • See to your outdoor water lines: Before cold weather arrives, drain water sprinkler and swimming pool supply lines, and remove, drain and store outdoor hoses. If possible, close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs, and open the outside hose bibs for draining. Keep them open so any remaining water can expand without breaking the pipe. If you can’t shut off the water from the inside, pick up some foam faucet covers.
  • Keep your home warm: Maintain an interior temperature of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even when you’re sleeping or not at home. Seal any drafts and leave interior doors open to help keep an even temperature from room to room.
  • Tend to those pipes: Leave the cabinet doors open in the kitchen and bathroom so your pipes aren’t shut off from the warm air. You can also insulate your pipes with sleeves, heat tape or heat cable. Insulation is especially important in unheated areas, such as your attic, basement, garage or crawl space, and for pipes running along exterior walls. During severe cold spells, you may want to leave all faucets, both hot and cold, running at a slight trickle.
  • Call in a professional: Frozen water in your pipes can cause them to burst, meaning you’ll have a mess on your hands once that water unthaws. So, act quickly to shut off your main water supply, and call in a licensed plumber to see to the situation.

Finally, be sure to touch base with us at Deleski Insurance Agency to check what your homeowner’s insurance covers when it comes to frozen pipes.

Happy Holidays from Deleski Insurance!

Don’t let appliance hoses sink you

Should You Be Worried About Your Appliance Hoses?

There’s a ticking time bomb in your Minnesota home right now, waiting to strike when you least expect it. In fact, there might even be more than one. And each can cause thousands and thousands of dollars in damage.

We here at Deleski Insurance are talking about faulty appliance hoses, of course.

Consider your humble washing machine: According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), washing machine failures cost an average of more than $5,000, and faulty hoses are responsible for more than half of those failures.

You can take steps to defuse these ticking time bombs — or at least make them less likely to go off. Here are the common hoses and tubes you should be checking:

Washing Machine
Most washing machines come with rubber hoses that connect to your water supply — hoses that can wear out and eventually burst. The IBHS says to check frequently for blisters, worn tubing, stress cracks and loose connections. Even if there is no obvious wear, replace hoses every five years. Use a reinforced steel-braided hose, as they are less likely to fail.

Dryer
Although you should clean the lint trap in your dryer with every load, danger lurks behind the dryer as well. Flexible plastic or foil ducting can easily trap lint and increase the risk of fire, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The agency recommends the use of a rigid or semi-rigid metal duct instead. Whichever you use, be sure to disconnect and clean the ducting annually.

Refrigerator
If your refrigerator has an icemaker or water dispenser, it also has a hose connecting it to the water supply. Replace the standard hose with a steel-braided line for added security.

Dishwasher
Dishwasher leaks can easily go undetected, so it’s important to check these connections regularly as well. Make sure that hoses and lines have no kinks, and periodically remove and clean the filter in the dishwasher, which is designed to stop food pieces from making it into the drain hose.

Gas Grills
At least once a year (typically when you fire up the grill for the first time after winter), check the hose connecting the fuel source to the burners. Simply brush it with some soapy water, turn the gas on (do not light the grill) and check the hose for air bubbles. If you see any, replace the hose and fitting.

In addition to checking your hoses regularly and replacing them when needed, there are monitoring systems available now that can automatically shut off your water supply in the event of a failure. Some detect leaks with moisture indicators, while at least one new system actually checks your water meter for unusual activity.

To further protect you, your homeowners insurance may cover certain damage that results from appliance hose failures. But, it all depends on the circumstances of your situation and on your specific policy. You may find that an appliance hose failure is not covered by your insurance, so it’s best to maintain your appliances to avoid damage in the first place.  The rule of thumb is “sudden and accidental” for appliance hose losses and water damage.

If you have questions about your homeowners insurance coverage we here at Atlas Insurance Brokers – Deleski Agency are happy to help.  Keep an eye on those appliance hoses and save yourself a big headache later.