Ice Is For Drinks, Not Your Pipes!

This time of year one of our biggest concerns in property management is the risk of frozen pipes. They can cause extensive damage to the home, especially if they occur while the tenant is out of town and doesn’t catch the problem quickly.

The best cure here is an ounce of prevention. The good folks over at have a brief but informative article to help you recognize the riskiest areas of your home and take preventative measures:

“Some pipes are more prone to freezing than others because of their location in the home,” explains Paul Abrams, spokesman for Roto-Rooter.

Pipes most at risk for freezing include:

  • Exposed pipes in unheated areas of the home.
  • Pipes located in exterior walls.
  • Any plumbing on the exterior of the home.

Preventative Measures for Outside

A frozen garden hose can cause more damage than a busted hose; it can actually burst an interior pipe. When the water in the hose freezes, it expands, increasing pressure throughout the whole plumbing system. As part of your regular seasonal maintenance, garden hoses should be disconnected, drained, and stored before the first hard freeze.

If you don’t have frost-proof spigots, close the interior shut-off valve leading to that faucet, open and drain the spigot, and install a faucet insulator. They cost only a couple bucks and are worth every penny. Don’t forget, outdoor kitchens need winterizing, too, to prevent damage.

Exposed Interior Plumbing

Exposed pipes in the basement are rarely in danger of freezing because they are in a heated portion of the home. But plumbing pipes in an unheated area, such as an attic, crawl space, and garage, are at risk of freezing.

Often, inexpensive foam pipe insulation is enough for moderately cold climates. For severe climes, opt for wrapping problem pipes with thermostatically controlled heat tape (from $50 to $200, depending on length), which will turn on at certain minimum temps.

If you’re planning to head out of town when temperatures will be low, we recommend the following steps be taken to prevent expensive damage:

  • Set your thermostat no lower than 60 degrees
  • Open cabinetry with piping inside to allow warm air to flow around exposed pipes
  • Shut off the water main and drain the water system by opening each faucet and flushing the toilets.

Finally, though it isn’t related to frozen pipes, we always recommend turning off your automatic ice maker and emptying the ice bin before you leave town. In the event of a power outage, the ice in the bin can melt and leak onto the floor, causing damage.

Read the full, original article here: 

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