Here in Richmond, I heard we are expecting 4"-10" of snow this weekend. So, we need to be prepared! Yes, snow can be pretty to look at and fun to play in, but did you know that winter weather can cause our pipes to freeze or even burst?! Yikes! This can lead to expensive repairs and cause a major problem to deal with.
As a Realtor, I want to make sure we all protect the investments we've made in our homes. So, the best way to make sure our pipes don't freeze is to prepare in advance. Below are some of the best ways to eliminate the risk of frozen pipes when cold weather strikes.
- Take notice! Look for places around your home where the pipes are most likely to freeze. This means any pipes that run through exterior walls, the basement, the attic, or the foundation. Because they are more exposed to the elements, these problem areas are almost always the first pipes to freeze and burst. Knowing which pipes are vulnerable is the first step towards preventing future damage.
- Cover it up! Insulating Pipe Sleeves can be used to cover at-risk pipes, with heat tape serving as another alternative for smaller pipes or pipes in confined spaces. In a pinch, even bath towels and duct tape can be used to provide a bit of extra insulation against the cold.
- Turn on the heat! If you have a programmable thermostat, set it so the temperature remains the same overnight. Since outdoor temperatures can dip dramatically when the sun goes down, turning on the heat can reduce the risk of waking up to a burst pipe.
- Drip, drip! If you are facing down a cold front or the prospect of a snap freeze, it’s vital that you leave your faucets dripping both day and night. Even the smallest water flow is usually enough to prevent pipes from bursting, especially if the pipes are insulated. Turning on the faucets can also help you determine whether all of your pipes are at risk, or if only certain ones seem to be experiencing problems.
- Open cabinet doors! Open the doors under your kitchen and bathroom sinks so heat can easily get to the pipes. I know this sounds super simple, but it helps!
If you suspect a pipe has frozen, try soaking a towel in hot water and draping it over the pipe. Or, use a hairdryer or space heater to quickly melt the ice. Never use direct flames and please, use common sense and all safety precautions. We don't a fire on our hands.
- If you can't locate the pipe, call a licensed plumber. Keep in mind that paying for professional help costs much less than dealing with a burst pipe.
- In the event of a burst pipe, and you are unable to get water to your home shut off, have your utility company number readily available. They will rush an emergency crew out to turn water off to your home. Here's a list of the utility companies in Central Virginia:
- City Of Richmond 804-646-4646
- Chesterfield County 804-748-1271
- Henrico County 804-501-4275
I recommend placing your water company's number on your fridge so you can find it quickly in the event of an emergency.
Stay warm and protected, my friends!
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