Don’t Wait! Now’s the Time to Winterize Your District’s Property [Updated]

Updated March 29, 2018 

As Coloradans, you know that winter weather can be destructive. Over the past two years, the CSD Pool has paid over $150,000 in claims that might have been prevented by properly preparing buildings for freezing temperatures. This process—called “winterization”—is a simple and cost-effective method to protect property through winter.

Your personal homeowner’s insurance policy likely contains an exclusion for damage caused by frozen pipes if you leave your home unheated or fail to drain your pipes while being away for an extended period. In the eyes of your insurance company, this is a matter of personal responsibility—to your insurer, failure to take these sensible steps is negligence.

While the CSD Pool does not have this exclusion, we do, however, always encourage members to take responsibility for their properties by winterizing vacant or seasonally unoccupied buildings to prevent avoidable claims.

Every winter, we pay claims for damages from frozen pipes. Because water expands when it freezes, undrained pipes, will burst. The water escaping from these pipes can have costly consequences, especially when it goes unnoticed until an astronomical water bill arrives in the mail. Damage to carpets, wood floors, drywall, furniture, computer, and electrical equipment, and the pipes themselves, can happen within minutes.

Pool houses account for a large number of winter-weather claims. We estimate the cost to winterize a small pool house in Colorado is about $300. The cost for cleanup and repairs can far exceed that amount by orders of magnitude.

Insulation and building maintenance are also important parts of winterization. Drafty door frames and windows can lead to low temperatures inside the building, which could eventually cause cracking and expansion. Buildings with attics are especially susceptible to losing hot air quickly if proper insulation is not installed. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors recommends 12 inches of insulation in attics in cold climates.

Gutters need to be checked regularly to ensure there is no build-up due to ice or other frozen debris. Clogged gutters can be damaged due to the weight of ice. Trapped water in clogged gutters can also leak into buildings.

Here are some tips on winterizing your buildings:

  • Drain all water from supply lines for swimming pools, water sprinklers, filters, fountains, dog water stations, etc. from all seasonally unoccupied buildings.
  • Maintain a temperature of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit in all buildings.
  • On particularly cold nights, allow a trickle of water to run through the faucets.
  • Properly insulate all buildings and caulk doors and windows.
  • Cover the inner-side of windows with plastic.
  • Regularly visit vacant and seasonally unoccupied buildings to inspect for burst pipes and water leakage.
  • Install pipe sleeves, heat tape, or heat cables on pipes. Even a quarter-inch of newspaper can provide some insulation to susceptible pipes.

If a pipe bursts, the top priority is mitigating damage. In the event of a loss, the Pool covers preservation of property for adjusting purposes; but members should not delay emergency repairs that will stop further damage from occurring. Costs for emergency cleanup or to keep employees on duty after their scheduled shifts to assist in that cleanup, are included as part of the Pool’s property coverage.

For emergency clean-up services, the Pool has contracted with SERVPRO to provide fast clean-up and damage mitigation. If you have need for emergency mitigation and cleanup, please call 844-210-8081 immediately.

If you have any questions about how to start the winterization process or about emergency mitigation, please contact us.If you have any questions about how to start the winterization process or about emergency mitigation, please contact us.

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