The temperature hovering well below freezing, we have more to worry about than finding matching gloves and a scarf. To make it worse, combine subzero temperatures with strong winds, and you have the perfect scenario for frozen pipes. A burst pipe oftentimes causes major flooding in your home, which can lead to major problems, including mold.
Pipes freeze for three main reasons – quick drops in temperature, poor insulation, and thermostats set at too low a temperature. So what can you do to protect yourself from your pipes freezing?
Here are a few tips:
- Insulate pipes in your home’s crawl spaces and attic, since exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing;
- A trickle of water can prevent your pipes from freezing. Open your faucet and let it drip;
- Seal spaces and openings that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located;
- Don’t change the thermostat dramatically at night. Dropping it a degree or two is fine, but sudden drops in temperature can cause your pipes to freeze;
- If you go away for the weekend, don’t turn the thermostat down too much to save money. If you do, you may return to a disastrous, wet, moldy mess;
- Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls;
- Disconnect garden hoses, turn off the water supply valve inside, and keep the faucets open outside.
If you open a faucet and no water comes out, don’t take any chances call in a plumber to see what the story is. If a water pipe bursts, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve and leave the faucet open. Try to dry out the area as quickly as possible. Damp and wet areas are prime locations for mold growth, which can blossom within 24 hours. Once the repairs are complete, have a certified microbial inspector come in to test the area and make sure there is no lingering mold.
For additional information on freezing and bursting pipes, you can visit the Red Cross website.