Thursday, January 23, 2014

Winter Fear of Homeowners: Freezing Pipes

Thoughtful Thursday KNOWSY Readers, well, as you can see, yesterday's post did not get written, due to  the daunting task of shovelling snow in sub-zero temperatures (that is how it felt with the windchill). The snow accumulations ranged from 4 inches to more than 1 1/2 feet due to snowdrifts. You can imagine digging out/clearing the driveway in that extreme cold, I literally would have to go back inside to get feeling back in my fingers and toes before I could venture out again.
This now leads me to today's post and the MAJOR concern that homeowners have during this cold snap, FREEZING PIPES. I searched to find good tips on how to prevent this potential headache and what to do if the worst should happen. This information harkens from Tennessee, I hope it will be helpful.

Tips to keep pipes and water meters from freezing and breaking

Posted: Jan 21, 2014 7:38 PM ESTUpdated: Jan 21, 2014 7:38 PM EST

While the winter season can pose many challenges to a homeowner, one of the biggest and most
costly is the risk of frozen pipes.

When temperatures fall below zero:

• If pipes are in an area that makes them vulnerable to the cold, consider allowing a small trickle of
   water from both your cold and hot water faucets to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. 
The cost of the extra water is low compared to the cost to repair a broken pipe.
• Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures.

If your pipes freeze:

• Shut off the water immediately. Don't attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off.
Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints that will leak when thawed.
• Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to the pipe.
You can use a hair dryer, space heater, or hot water.
Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
• Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.

To further help protect your pipes in cold winter weather; keep these helpful tips in mind.

• Make sure everyone in your home knows where the main water shut-off valve is
and how  to turn it off and on. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
• Search your house for un-insulated pipes, especially in unheated areas. 
Consider wrapping pipes with electric heating tape,
 but follow manufacturers' instructions carefully to avoid a fire hazard.
• Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations, especially where cable TV
 or phone lines enter the house, with caulking to keep cold winds away from pipes.
• If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly.
 Close them when water appears
• Make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve),
and that the lines are disconnected and drained.
• Drain and shut off entirely the water to any unoccupied residence such as
a summer or vacation home. A loss of power during a winter storm could cause pipes
to freeze. If you intend to leave a property entirely without heat, be sure to drain all water to 
prevent the possibility of frozen pipes.
• Set the thermostat at 55 degrees if you're going out of town. Although you may be able to
 get away with a lower temperature, this setting is considered to be safe for pipes. 

KNOWSY Readers please take care during this extreme cold weather, if you reside in a part
 of the country that braves these types of elements take the necessary precautions to safeguard 
yourself/family and property.


Evon Brow said...

I have had problems with freezing pipes for years, especially in the past 2-3. I live in the south as well, and my pipes have been freezing with these lower temperatures we have been experiencing in winter. The tip about leaving your thermostat on 55 while out of town is a great one. This is essential. And I always leave the water running just a bit when it drops below zero. These are really great tips!

Evon Brow @ Athens Plumbing

Maria-Victoria Orlando said...

Thank you Evon for your comment it is appreciated! I am always searching for items of interest that will help folks save and if possible make money. This particular information is important because anyone who has experienced freezing pipes KNOWS just how expensive it can be to replace if they break! I am glad you were able to read my post and hope you will continue to do so in the future. All the Best!