16 Dec 2014 Preventing Frozen Pipes
Water expands as it freezes and puts significant pressure on the metal or plastic pipes that hold it. Pipes that are exposed to extreme cold can burst when water expands; these include outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in basements, attics and garages.
Since winter has already arrived in Massachusetts, here’s some last minute advice for preventing frozen pipes. When the outside temperature drops below freezing, here’s what to know to protect your home:
- Disconnect your outdoor gardening hoses, close the internal valve inside your home and drain the pipes by opening the external valve. Don’t forget to reclose the valve.
- Keep the heat in your home at 60◦ at the minimum. This will ensure the colder portions of your home maintain adequate temperatures.
- Leave your indoor faucets trickling on extremely cold days.
- Open the cabinet doors in both your kitchen and bathroom to allow the warmer air to reach the pipes.
- If you’re planning on leaving your home for more than two days during the colder months, turn off your main water supply valve. Although this won’t prevent your pipes from freezing, it’ll greatly minimize the damage done to your home.
Have a vacation home in the New England area? Preventing frozen pipes is equally important, especially since it’s likely vacant for some months of the year. Here are a few tips for preventing frozen pipes at your New England vacation home:
- Keep the heat on at least 60◦.
- Have your temperature monitoring system linked to your central alarm system. This will allow you to be notified if the house drops below your desired temperature. Asking a friend or neighbor to check the inside temperature at your vacation home is also recommended. This person should know the location of your vacation home’s main water shutoff valve.
- Consider shutting off the main water supply to the house. After the main water supply is off, turn on all faucets to drain the excess water, this will drain the water in the pipes to prevent freezing.
I’ll leave you with a few final thoughts – frozen pipes are no joke! Frozen pipes will not only shut off the water supply to your home, but can also cause the pipes to burst. Bursting pipes can cause an incredible amount of damage within your home (especially if it’s not caught right away). Unfortunately, this is something that I know from personal experience.
*Authored by Amanda Spittell.
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