For 13 years Trilogy Partners has been building in the mountains of Colorado and elsewhere. When we reflect on problems that some of the homes we’ve built have encountered over the years, one topic seems to come up again and again. Water.

As we all know, water in its many forms has incredible destructive powers. Tsunamis, floods, hurricanes etc. These events happen on a grand scale and destroy hundreds of homes in a very short period of time. But water in far lesser quantities can still cause tremendous damage to a home. A leaky roof, a bad washing machine line, a slight crack in the plastic feed line to a refrigerator ice maker, all of these small problems if left unresolved can cause thousands of dollars of damage over a short period of time.

The results of a leak can be almost unimaginably catastrophic. This winter we had one particularly deep cold period where the temperature fell to almost 40 degrees f. below zero. When the weather gets like this my brother John usually sends out an email to remind all of our homeowners to make sure their homes are ready for the deep freeze. Because if they aren’t, pipes are going to freeze and rupture. And when they thaw out, water damage from the broken pipes can happen quite quickly.

This winter we had one home that suffered significant damage when pipes froze and then burst during an expecially hard cold spell. This home is a second home and was unoccupied during the freeze. Knowing this John stopped by one evening to inspect and found a side door completely frozen shut from the inside. A pipe had burst in a third story attic space thoroughly soaking the two floors below and freezing where it contacted exterior doors and windows. It was a real mess. So why did the pipe freeze in the first place? The pipe was in an unheated room and a space heater left to guard against freezing had been turned off. The damage to the home was around $100,000. It would have been far worse had John not stopped by that evening as we estimate the water had only been flowing for hours rather than days. We know of at least one incident when a leaking pipe caused a failure in the primary heating system. Ice literally filled the house as the interior fell well below freezing.

Here’s some advice to keep your home water safe. This list is biased toward homes in colder regions.

Visually inspect the roof systems, gutters and flashing each spring and fall.

Address any roof leaks as soon as they occur. Even if the leak is slight and intermittent significant damage to insulation, drywall, structural members can occur with time. Even small and infrequent leaks promote the growth of mold and mildew..

Turn off washing machine supply lines if the home will be unattended for any length of time.

Inspect under sinks especially kitchen sinks for slow leaks or signs of water.

Ice dams on roofs must be addressed by either clearing snow from the roof or for a long term solution, through the installation of heat tape.

Disconnect any outdoor hoses from hose bibs to prevent freezing of exterior water supplies.

Be aware that any plumbing in exterior walls or unheated spaces is especially vulnerable to the cold. Consider adding portable thermostatically controlled spade heaters to unheated spaces. Invest in some heat tape to wrap around pipes that may be particularly vulnerable during cold snaps.

If you are going to leave your home during a cold spell, ask a friend to stop by your home to make sure everything is as should be.

Consider the installation of an alarm system that includes temperature sensors that alert the owner when the interior temperature falls close to freezing.

And last but not least, leave the plumbing to professionals.

965 N Ten Mile Dr. , Unit A1 Frisco, CO 80443
Phone: 970-453-2230

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