Freezing weather alert: preventing property damage


Freezing Weather Alert

With freezing temperatures threatening San Antonio and the surrounding areas, the following tips will aid in protecting your property and help prevent damage due to freezing and possible broken water pipes.

Before freezing weather

  • Wrap all exposed pipes located outside or in unheated areas of the building
  • Remove garden hoses from outside faucets. Insulate outside faucets with styrofoam cover, rags or paper
  • Cover vents around the foundation of your home
  • Know where your property owner's cut-off valve is located and how to use it. Apply oil such as WD-40 to the cut-off valve before operating to prevent the valve from breaking. The valve is located adjacent to the water meter box under a 6" metal lid

In sub-freezing weather

  • Drip outside faucets 24 hours a day (5 drops per minute). This is not necessary unless temperatures are expected to be 28 degrees or below for at least 4 hours. (Be sure to turn off the faucets after the threat of freezing weather.)
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls
  • In unheated garages, shut off water to washing machines. Water softeners should be drained and protected from freezing temperatures
  • In sustained sub-freezing weather, let water drip slowly from inside faucets
  • Take extra precautions to protect pipes that have frozen in the past

If you are not going to be at home

  • Cut water off at the property owner's cut-off valve
  • Drain all outside water faucets if your building will be unoccupied for several days (leave outside faucets open)
  • Leave heating system on at a low setting
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls

Even after taking these precautions, there is still a chance of cold weather related property damage or that a pipe could freeze or burst. Most insurance policies, require the policyholder to take responsibility to mitigate the loss. You need to take action to keep a problem from getting worse after making a claim or observing a problem.

What does mitigation mean?

Imagine that a pipe breaks, causing a flood in your home. You have a responsibility as the insured party to make arrangements to stop the leak and clean up the water to prevent further damages. If you do not take these steps, the damage will get worse and more expensive. In this case, mold may begin to grow or water damage will increase.

How to mitigate against further damage

Take pictures of the damage that has already occurred. Then, take steps to prevent the problem from getting worse. This may include making temporary repairs, such as boarding up a broken window, or shutting off utilities, such as water to a damaged pipe.

If a flood occurred, be sure to allow everything to completely dry to prevent the growth of mold or rust. You may also need to contact an expert to assist in repairs or flood cleanup.

Save all of your receipts from any supplies and/or repairs.

Listed below are three water extraction contractors with 24 hour emergency numbers.

  • Gerloff Company 800.486.3621
  • Blackmon Mooring 877.730.1948
  • MacKenzie Restoration 210.492.4206

Many insurance companies have developed specialized disaster teams and have advised that the fastest way to get your claim handled during this period of increased claim activity is to report directly to the team. Listed below are direct reporting claim phone numbers of many of the insurance companies with which we partner.

If your company is not shown below and you need to report an emergency, please call our office and select option ‘9’. Your call will be escalated to a Catto & Catto representative who will be in contact with you as soon as possible upon notification.

  • Allied 800.421.3535
  • Bituminous 888.857.8031
  • Central 888.263.2924
  • Chubb 800.252.4670
  • Cincinnati 877.242.2544
  • CNA 877.262.2727
  • Hanover 800.628.0250
  • Hartford 800.327.3636
  • Kemper 888.252.2799
  • Liberty 800.362.0000
  • Philadelphia 800.765.9749
  • Travelers 800.238.6225
  • Union Standard 800.444.0049
  • Zurich 800.987.3373


[photo credit: ChaoticMind75 via photopin cc]

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