Avoid bursting pipes (and costly repairs) this winter with these simple tips

According to the insurance company Chubb, homeowners are more likely to experience water damage during the winter than any other time of year.

“In the wintertime, the water in the pipes gets cold; it freezes,” Jim Magliaro, Risk Consulting Technical Leader at Chubb says. “Water goes everywhere.”

Insulate your pipes. You can buy simple insulation for about 25 cents a foot.

Replace rubber hoses. Check your washing machine to make sure the hoses aren’t rubber. Steel-braided hoses are inexpensive, costing about $10 each.

Know how to shut off the valve under your sink. “Once a week, you look under the sink and you look for any puddles of water and move your hand along the pipes to see if there are any leaks,” Magliaro said. If there are, shut off the valve.

Check for puddles behind your refrigerator. Many refrigerator leaks are due to the water line that feeds the refrigerator. Magliaro suggests you pull your refrigerator out once a month and look for puddles behind it.

Know how to shut off your water main. With the holidays approaching, many of us are leaving for vacation or visiting family. Experts say if you’re heading out of town, you should shut off your water main. It’s an easy way to prevent major leaks or bursts while you’re away.

The main water shutoff valve is usually located at the point where the main water line enters the home. In homes with basements, it is usually in the basement. In homes that are on a crawl space or slab, it can be in the garage (if one exists), in a first-floor utility closet, or, in many Southern climates, outside of the home.