Wicked winter weather is no friend to your plumbing. As temperatures dip lower and lower, the risk for frozen pipes skyrockets. The best way to combat this disaster and avoid the winter blues is to take preventative measures before the problem occurs. To get you ahead of the game, our Home Managers have put together the below 5 tips and tricks for reducing the risk of frozen pipes.
When should you be alert to the danger of freezing pipes? It depends. According to research conducted by the Building Research Council at the University of Illinois, the “temperature alert threshold” is -7°C/20°F. However, freezing incidents can occur when the temperature remains above -7°C/20°F. Pipes exposed to cold air (especially flowing air, as on a windy day) because of cracks in an outside wall or lack of insulation are vulnerable to freezing.
Once the temperature starts dropping outside, take measures inside to keep your pipes warm and water running. Some of these steps may go against your better instincts of conserving water and heat, but the extra expense is nothing compared with a hefty repair bill. Here’s what to do:
Let cold water drip from the faucet: Turn on your tap to a slow drip. Running water through the pipe—even at a trickle—helps relieve pressure in the system and helps keep water in circulation, which reduces the risk of freezing. Where both hot and cold lines service a spigot, make sure each one contributes to the drop, since both are subject to freezing.
Keep the thermostat on: Keeping the heat on at a moderate and consistent temperature throughout the day and night helps prevent pipes from freezing. This is especially important if you plan on being away during the cold weather. A smart thermostat will help you with this: it can help you schedule your home’s temperature and manage those changes with an app when you’re not even home. Be sure to check, however, that your smart thermostat's settings (particularly "eco-settings") are set at a reasonable temperature.
Keep garage doors closed: If your water supply lines are in the garage, protecting them as much as possible from drafty winds is very important. Minimize cold air contact by keeping the garage door closed.
Open cabinet doors beneath your sink: As pipes are often located in and behind cabinets, it is a good idea to keep the cabinet doors beneath your sink(s) open so the heat from the rest of the home can keep the pipes warm as well.
Add insulation: Adding insulation to attics, garages, basements and crawl spaces help maintain a higher temperature that lowers the risk of pipes freeze. Ensure you also prevent drafts by sealing cracks and openings.
If you need help protecting your pipes and home from the harsh winter weather, your Home Manager is always available to help you. We can help:
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