Protecting Pipes From Harsh Winter
by Joel Young, Meteorologist/Reporter
January 16, 2013 6:21 PM
Although this week’s warm weather has been a nice reprieve, it is January and winter is in full swing.
Much colder air is expected to drop in sometime over the weekend, so businesses that specialize in water clean up are expecting a busy few days. That’s because when temperatures stay well below certain temperatures for an extended period of time, pipes begin to freeze.
Experts say it’s important to take this time to make sure your utilities are protected from the elements.
“If homes aren’t insolated very well, or if it’s an older home that isn’t insolated very well or hasn’t come up to the new codes or standards; those are the pipes that normally break,” says David Feist, water restoration manager at Intek Cleaning and Restoration.
This time of year keeps Feist and his crew busy, especially after mid-winter thaws tempt people to get outside and wash their cars, forgetting to unhook their hoses afterward.
“Make sure you’ve unhooked all your garden hoses. These should be off so any water in that can drain out,” says Feist.
That’s not the only problem they run into. Another common mistake people make is neglecting to check utilities on their other properties, such as a lake home or rental property that may be unoccupied.
“That should be checked. Heat should be on. We see a lot where people will shut the heat off or turn it way down and leave the water on and not shut their water off,” says Feist.
He says even if the heat is turned on at 52 or 55 degrees, it’s still too cold for those pipes close to the outside walls.
“It’s easier to just go downstairs or wherever it is and just shut the water off. It’s just that much easier,” says Feist.
In addition to shutting your water off completely, Feist says it’s important to open a valve at the bottom of your pipe to release any excess water from the pipe once it has been shut off.
These are all great tips that will save yourself a great deal of time, money, and trouble once the next big freeze rolls around.