With December temperatures hovering around the 70’s, it’s hard to imagine that this winter will be one for the record books. However, even here in the South, we do manage to get a cold snap or two across our path. (Check out the Local Weather Forecast if you want proof!)
Because deep freezes are so rare here in San Antonio, we often look for advice when it comes time to winterize our properties. Here are a few quick tips for when the temps dip:
Wrap Pipes – Foam insulation, or even thick blankets around exposed pipes can add insulation and prevent freezing (and later bursting).
Drip Faucets – Running water is much more difficult to freeze than standing water. For this reason, it is recommended that when the mercury drops, you do something to get the water in your pipes flowing. Even just a small trickle from faucets in & out of your home can be enough to prevent freezing.Conservation Tip: Stick a bucket or pan under dripping faucets to save the water and use for watering houseplants.
Adjust Thermostat – Try to avoid huge temperature drops in your home overnight. It’s recommended that you keep temperatures in your home above 55°F, especially if the home is vacant, or if you leave town.
Open Cabinets – Keep air flowing around the pipes inside your home by opening cabinet doors in areas that house plumbing (think under the kitchen & bathroom sink). The warmer air surrounding the pipes can help stop them from freezing, and also warm them up slowly if they do manage to turn icy.
Run Pool Pumps – For those of you with pools, keeping the pump running constantly during deep temperature drops. Standing water in the pump or in the lines of the pump are at a great risk for freezing, and could result in costly repairs if they burst.
The biggest problems come not in the freezing of the pipes, but when frozen pipes defrost too quickly and then burst. If your pipes do freeze, first locate your shutoff valve to prevent extensive damage from gushing water if they do break open. Then, slow is the key word when warming them up. Blow dryers and warm towels/blankets are the top recommended methods. If you’ve any doubt as to what to do, have a plumber handy, just in case.
This list is intended to include just a few of the many actions you can take to try and prevent damage to your home during freezing temperatures. If you want more details, contact a reputable real estate professional who would be happy to assist.
image courtesy of Jimmy_Joe