Winter has arrived. Low temperature tonight (Dec 27, 2017) is forecast to be in the ‘teens with daily highs in the 30’s, maybe into the 40’s. These low temperatures will continue well into the new year.
These low temperatures can cause burst pipes in houses that are not occupied. Here are some tips for full-time and part-time residents:
- If the house is to be empty for a while, especially for part-time residents, set your thermostat on at least 55 degrees. That way, the house will be kept warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing without adding too much to your electrical bill.
- If you use propane heat, check your propane tank and fill it if necessary.
- Check your crawl space door — make certain it is secure. A couple of years ago, a crawl space door was blown open by high winds, causing sub-freezing temperatures to develop in the crawl space which cause pipes under the house to freeze and burst.
- Make certain your doors and windows are closed securely — high winds can open doors.
- In your kitchen, especially if you are a part-time resident, leave cabinet doors under the sink open. In many cases, the pipes that serve your kitchen sink are against an outside wall and can freeze. By leaving the cabinet doors open, you allow warm air from the house to circulate into the area under the sink, thereby preventing frozen pipes.
We check the gauges in the well house every couple of days to see how much water is being used. If we see a spike in water usage without a corresponding increase in the number of people in the neighborhood, that can indicate a burst pipe somewhere. If this happens, we will investigate. If we find a burst pipe, we will turn off the water to that house (if possible); we will call a plumber; and, we will call the homeowner.