Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your plumbing if you don't take proper precautions. Here are some things to remember during the wintry cold snaps:
- Don't set thermostats back to a lower temperature. It's sometimes impossible for the heating system to recover and reach a comfortable temperature again later.
- Open kitchen cabinets. Even if room temperatures are above freezing, the air behind the cabinets can be below freezing, damaging pipes in the wall.
- If you haven't already removed garden hoses, do it now. For most hoses, the water shuts off about a foot into the wall, letting that last foot of space act as a drain. The hose can keep the water from draining, causing cracks that you won't notice until spring when you start to water your garden and instead find you're watering the inside of your walls. Don't shut off the water from inside, as it can also keep the water from draining.
- If you have plumbing above a garage or outdoor building, don't leave doors open. It can take just moments for pipes to freeze.
- If you place portable heaters next to walls where pipes tend to freeze, don't leave them unattended.
- Heat tape is good for insulating pipes, but you can't use insulation around the tape, or tape over tape. This can be a fire hazard or cause electrocution.
- Know where you main water shutoff is located. Just a 1/8 inch crack in a pipe can spew thousands of gallons of water. Know where to turn the water off so you avoid water damage.