Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tips On Protecting Your Homes Water Pipes From The Big Freeze

The other day I was out on the golf course enjoying the warm Charleston sunshine. Once in awhile you cross paths with other golfers going from fairway to fairway at which time you engage in some small talk. As our foursome walked past another group dressed in windbreakers and sweaters one of them said, "Northeners", at which we inquired, "Why do you say so?" "Who else would be wearing shorts and shirts on a cold day," he replied. My companion golphers all chuckled a bit and as we walked to the next tee we looked at each other and said, "Southeners."

Yes, I am a northener from the snow belt area of Ohio, but I have lived in the Charleston area for over five years now. The coldest I saw it get since moving here was 24 degrees, and that was the nighttime low. Where I am from 24 degrees, if you are lucky, is usually the high for the day, and sometimes there were days where the high for the day was 10 degrees below zero. We would travel south to get a break from the winter cold and snow, quite often the Charleston area. It was during these brief respites from winter I acquired a liking for Charleston and its history. I am somewhat of a Civil War enthusiast and here you are smack dab in the middle of it. Charleston is quite unique as cities go.

Here's a little bit of irony when it comes to southern living. Homes in mild winter climates are especially vulnerable to frozen pipes. Why you may ask? Because they tend to have plumbing in exterior walls, attics, crawl spaces and other unheated or unprotected areas. Already this week nighttime temperatures have dropped down into the 20's. So, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to the pipes in your home.

1) Wrap pipes with foam or fiberglass insulation.
2) Consider wrapping pipes with heat tapes or cables that use a small amount of electricity.
3) Seal openings in exterior walls where unprotected piping is exposed to cold air.
4) Disconnect garden hoses and place insulated covers over outdoor faucets. Irrigation pipes above ground should be insulated and taped and valves drained of water or insulated with a cover.
5) Another option, install inside shut-off valves for outdoor faucets and drain water from pipes.
6) Turn on faucets to a very slow drip to relieve pressure in the pipe. Both hot and cold-water lines should be open.
7) Leave cabinet doors open to let warmer room air get to the pipes under kitchen and bath sinks.
8) Set your thermostat above 55 degrees when you are away during cold months.

Thinking of getting away from the cold this winter? Here are some great deals for you to check out on popular destinations with warm climates.

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