The Massachusetts’ winters are hard on people but they’re also hard on pipes. When temperatures get below freezing, the risk of our pipes freezing rises dramatically. In fact, frozen and burst pipes are one of the leading causes of property damage during the wintertime, which can easily cost a homeowner $5,000 or more.
Not all pipes in a home are at the same level of risk. It’s those pipes in unheated spaces that are the most vulnerable to a freeze break. You can usually find these pipes located in attics, basements, and garages. But even the pipes under kitchen and bathroom sinks can freeze. The good news is there are things you can do to keep water flowing freely while avoiding a burst pipe and a small fortune in damage.
When the Temperatures Drop Outside
Sometime around Halloween when it starts to get cold enough outside that you need a warm winter jacket, it’s time to take steps inside to make sure your pipes stay warm and your water keeps running. According to the Building Research Council at the University of Illinois, the “temperature alert threshold” is 20° F, and that is especially the case when there are uninsulated pipes located in an uninsulated space.
Here’s what the experts recommend you do:
- Keep your garage door closed, especially if you have water supply lines located there.
- This may not look the best, but it’s effective: open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors so warm air can circulate around the plumbing pipes.
- For exposed pipes, run cold water through the pipe so it drips slowly from the faucet. This little drip helps prevent the pipes from freezing.
- All day and night, have the thermostat set at the same temperature. When the outside temperatures drop, it’s not time to save money on the heating bill.
- If you go out of town during cold weather, leave the heat on and no lower than 55° F.
- To be cost-effective over the long-haul, insulate the attic, the basement, and crawl spaces.
- To prevent the escape of warm air, seal the cracks and openings around windows and doors.