What should you do to protect your pipes from freezing and when?
That will vary from home to home but when the temperatures drop below 10 degrees you should be aware! Some homes will need to take precautions at higher temperatures, others can go much lower, it is important to know your home to know when to take action. Some of the following suggestions require the use of water, yes you have to pay for the water even if it was for freeze protection, but you will usually find that the cost of paying for the water is much less then a repair bill from a plumber.
Run just the smallest trickle of water, like the size of a pencil lead out of a tap, yes it might cost you a little extra on your water bill but it will still be substantially cheaper than having a frozen pipe!
Do not turn your heat down! Especially if you have hot water heat. The time it takes the house to cool down to the temperature you set it down too, can be the same time it takes to freeze your pipes.
Open the cabinet doors under your sinks to allow the warmer room air in.
Some homes have to have heat tape on certain sections of their pipes.
If you have hot water heat, don’t turn down the heat during these cold spells because the time it takes for the house to cool down can be the time it takes for the pipes to freeze since the hot water heat pipes are typically run along outside walls, where it gets the coldest
If you're going to be gone from your home you may want take the above precautions even if the weather isn't bad when you leave. The weather is not that predictable. Make sure you have someone check your home daily, if a pipe freezes, bursts, and defrosts, it can flood your home and cause even more damage.
Please, please call us when you have no running water because of frozen pipes.
We need to make sure that there is water at your meter pit and take some precautionary measure to protect the rest of the water system. If your pipes freeze it can travel all the way to the main water lines in the street and to your neighbors.
Has anyone been in your meter pit? Either you or a plumber? Did they close it properly? It is very frustrating to get called out for a call of “I don’t have any water” only to find someone has been in the meter pit and didn’t close the lid right so the meter froze. Not only is it frustrating but it usually means the meter has been damaged and has to be repaired. That means we have to first defrost the piping in the pit and the meter, then we have to fix the meter, which means we are probably getting wet, and if you think its cold in your house try it outside, at night, when its freezing, and the problem could have been avoided!
Snow, snow everywhere!
When you clear your driveway try not to bury the meter pit or the transmitter next to it (that’s the tan box by the meter pit), not only can it interfere with our ability to read the meters but if you do have a burst pipe and the water needs to be turned off at the meter pit it can turn into quite the “hunt” to find the meter pit. The faster we can get to the meter pit the sooner we can stop the flow of the water in your home and the less damage there will be! So its not only for our benefit but for yours too.
A little bit of precaution can save you large plumbing bills, damage to your home from burst water pipes, and the experience of having to live without water. Remember if your pipes frozen, there are probably lots of other homes with the same problem and you may not get a plumber right away, it could be days.
Know where the main water shut off is to your home so that if a pipe bursts you can turn off the water! This will reduce the amount of damage to your home.