Depending on where you live, you’ve probably already experienced some cold nights this season. But what’s cold enough to threaten your home for frozen pipes?
In general, you should be thinking about your pipes freezing when the temperature drops to 20 degrees or below. However, there are some variables to consider.
Homes that are built for colder weather, in the northern part of the country, for example, might have insulation that will prevent pipes from freezing even in 20 degree weather. Homes in the southern region, that might not be built for freezing temperatures, could suffer from frozen pipes at temperatures warmer than 20 degrees.
No matter where you live, pipes that are exposed to the elements, say outside or located in an un-insulated attic or basement could also freeze at higher temperatures. Wind also plays a factor, since the temperature could be one number, but the wind chill creates another, lower number which could affect your pipes.
The best way to prevent your pipes from freezing and eventually lead to cracking or bursting is to insulate them. This could be in the form of insulating the room they are in (the attic or the basement), protecting the pipe itself with a sleeve, or keeping your house a little warmer.
If you’re leaving your house for an extended period of time, leave the temperature in your house warm enough to protect the pipes. Another prevention method is to drain the water system so there is no water in the pipes that could freeze. Do this by turning off the main valve and turning on all of the faucets in your home until there is no water coming out.
If you have pipes in unprotected areas, let the faucets for those pipes drip, making sure that the hot and cold are turned on. While the water inside these pipes might still freeze, the drip allows any built-up pressure in the pipe to be relieved.
Written and published by Thompson Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.