Preparing Your Home for the Frigid Weather Forecasted

December 21, 2022

It doesn’t look like we will have a white Christmas but it will definitely be a cold one.

The forecast for Friday – Sunday calls for temperatures to be below freezing most of the time and possibly to drop into the low teens. Sub-freezing temperatures for an extended period can cause pipes in vulnerable areas to freeze, burst and result in costly damage.

Preparing for these conditions and knowing how to respond to frozen pipes can help to minimize any damage and the cost of needed repairs.

During extended periods of sub-freezing temperatures, if you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe.

During at or below freezing temperatures

  • If you have pipes that are vulnerable to freezing, allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is low compared to the cost to repair a broken pipe.
  • Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing. Be sure to remove any household cleaners out of reach of young children.
  • Keep the garage door closed.

If your pipes freeze

  • Shut off the water immediately. Don’t attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints.
  • Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to a pipe. You can use a hair dryer, space heater or hot water. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended, and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
  • Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.

When you are away

  • Have a friend, relative or neighbor regularly check your property to ensure that the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen.
  • Know what areas of your home, such as basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms and outside walls, are most vulnerable to freezing.
  • Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by repairing broken windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and eliminating drafts near doors.
  • Know the location of your main water shut-off valve. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
  • Protect your pipes. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or use electrical heat tracing wire; newspaper or fabric might also work.