Prepare Your Home for Winter Weather
During Cold Weather, there are many precautions you can take to prevent frozen pipes:
If you are traveling:
- Open cabinet doors to expose pipes along outside walls to warmer room temperatures to keep them from freezing.
- Make arrangements with a friend or neighbor to periodically check on your house to make sure that heat is working.
- Never turn off your heat or turn the thermostat below 60 degrees.
- Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater to save energy but do not turn the unit off.
- Freeze alarms can be purchased for a nominal amount of money. These alarms can call a phone number you pre-select when the inside temperature drops below a determined level.
- Consider turning off the water to your house at the meter.
Even when you are not traveling it is always prudent to take precautions against freezing:
- If you have pipes along an outside wall allow a small trickle of water to run at night to keep the pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is low compared to a frozen pipe. Keep any cabinet doors open to help in this effort.
- Know where your main water shut-off valve is. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
- Keep your garage door closed whenever possible during cold spells.
- Insulate both hot and cold-water pipes in an area that is likely to freeze since hot water pipes have a tendency to freeze first.
If your pipes do freeze:
- Turn the water to the house off.
- Use a hair dryer, space heater or warm clothes to thaw the frozen pipe.
- Never use a torch or other open flame to thaw a pipe.
- Leave a faucet open when thawing a pipe to allow water to come out when the ice melts.
- Once the pipes have thawed, check for cracks and leaks.
Just a few proactive measures can keep your home safe and dry during the winter months.