After the freeze, burst pipes and ice dams are the next danger, experts say


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s inevitable that in a deep freeze, there will be frozen pipes. Repair companies and insurance agencies were handling the damages and claims all over the Memphis area Friday.

It happened at St. Stephen Baptist Church in Raleigh, where the pipes burst.

“It was quite a bit of water that came through. What it has done is force us to go back totally virtual,” said Rev. Andre Jones.

Brian Choate, of Choate’s Heating and Air, said technicians are battling snow-covered streets, trying to get to as many customers as possible.

“They have no water, typically because their water in the lines are frozen,” he said.

But in the meantime, there are things you can do if your pipes freeze.

“The biggest thing you can do is shut off the water outside and the main line, especially if you plan on leaving your home and you know you don’t have any water running, that means that it is frozen,” Choate said.

He said the real problem comes after the freeze.

“The lines freeze, that ice expands and it creates cracks in the line. Once it starts to thaw, that’s when the water is going to pump through those cracks and causing ceiling damages and home damages.

The next call will be to your insurance company.

“File a claim, talk to an insurance person and find things out,” Allstate Insurance agent Rod Lovelace said. His phone has been ringing with claims

“We are expecting more. It’s happening by the minute,” he said.

Lovelace says, depending on your coverage, it’s almost certain damage from a snow event like this is covered. But he also advises people to not forget your roof, where built-up ice can form ice dams.

“A gutter becomes dammed up with ice from melting snow. The water doesn’t disperse through the gutter system in the house,” he said. “So what happens, the water then backs up into the shingles underneath the snow.”

Then water seeps in the house and causes damage.

But he says stay calm and remain patient as professionals answer your calls as quickly as they can, from estimates to repairs.

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