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Tips for winter-proofing homes, avoiding frozen pipes

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Experts say getting your home winter-ready ahead of a storm can help avoid expensive repairs down the road from frozen pipes to ice dams.

State Farm spokesperson Amy Harris joined AM Extra with tips to get homes ready for cold snaps just as an ice storm is slated to hit the region ahead of the Christmas holiday.

“We see a wide variety of things that can happen. Just this year alone, State Farm had $181 million in claims filed just for ice dams and frozen pipes that end up bursting,” Harris said. “The average claim is about $20,000, so it’s super expensive and something that can be preventable.”

Harris warned, for example, that an eight-inch crack in a pipe can lead to about 250 gallons of water leaking per day — potentially causing water damage to floors, walls and dry wall.

To avoid frozen pipes, Harris recommends securing outdoor hoses, valves and faucets and letting water drip during a winter storm as the constant water flow will help prevent pipes from freezing.

Additionally, Harris suggests keeping cabinet doors open to get warm airflow from the home to the pipes, keeping pipes insulated with heat tape, keeping thermostats set to the same temperature for 24 hours and ensuring thermostats have fresh batteries.

The expert also recommends homeowners contact their insurance agent for clarification on their winter-related coverage.

The latest National Weather Service-issued weather alerts for the Pacific Northwest include Winter Storm Watches and Wind Chill Warnings, and warming shelters are opening up around the region as the storm approaches.

Stay with KOIN 6 News as this story develops.


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