10 Key Steps to Protect Your Pipes From Freezing During Cold Weather from Elkins Apartments

Posted on January 5, 2015

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The weather takes a turn for the frigid. How do you protect your pipes from freezing?!

Frozen pipes are no fun. And, Elkins Apartments doesn’t want you to have to deal with them! Take 10 simple steps to protect yourself and your pipes when the weather turns wicked frosty!

  1. Leave the heat on!!

    Turn down heat to 60 to save energy but DON’T turn the heat off or pipes may freeze and burst damaging your residence, your belongings, or even your neighbor’s property. Even if its really nice before you leave on a winter trip, be sure you have the heat on because in Bloomington, things can turn cold in a hurry, and though it may have been 60 when you left, it could easily be 6 degrees while you are gone, no kidding!

  2. Keep the thermostat consistent

    You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you’re asleep, but further drops in the temperature – common overnight – could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes. Normally, turning the heat down during the night can be a good way to be green, but don’t do it when its really really cold, and definitely do NOT turn the heat lower than 60 degrees.

  3. Run a trickle of water.

    A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water (a mix of cold & hot water) drip overnight, preferably from an indoor faucet on an outside wall. See the weather channel note below!

  4. Open cabinet doors below sinks.

    Pipes under the kitchen and bathroom sinks are particularly vulnerable, leave the doors open to allow them to get some more heat. This is particularly true for sinks on exterior walls.

  5. Be sure the heating vents are open.

    Be sure the heating vents are open in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry rooms or any room where there are pipes, faucets, fridges with water lines, washing machines, etc. These are not good rooms to try to save money by closing them off. If the pipes freeze, it’ll cost much more than the savings. Again, this is particularly true for rooms on the outside of the place or in the basement.

  6. Close crawl space vents.

    You may not be in house with a crawlspace, but if you are then close the crawlspace openings and air vents. In cold weather, closing these (if you have them) conserves energy and lowers your bills. In warm weather, open them to allow air to circulate.

  7. Remove hoses from outside faucets.

    Be sure the faucets are off and the hoses removed. Hoses left attached can not only wreck the hose, but can break the faucet or line.

  8. If gone, have someone check!

    If you will be gone during periods of extreme cold, you or a roommate, friend, or family member should check on your apartment periodically. NEVER turn your heat off when leaving town. You might save a buck on the heating but it’ll cost you a whole lot more in damages if pipes freeze!

  9. Locate the water shutoff BEFORE you need it!

    The shutoff can often be found in a basement bedroom closet or in the furnace room. Knowing where it is before water is running all over your floor will make it a lot easier to calmly stem the tide!

  10. Consider renters insurance!

    We don’t sell it, but we happen to think its a great idea. Renters insurance will cover damage to your stuff and your unit if something bad happens. Note that most renter’s insurance does not cover floods, but a pipe bursting is NOT a flood and is usually covered. You’ll want to ask the provider to be sure.

From The Weather Channel:

Letting a faucet drip during extreme cold weather can prevent a pipe from bursting. It’s not that a small flow of water prevents freezing; this helps, but water can freeze even with a slow flow. Rather, opening a faucet will provide relief from the excessive pressure that builds between the faucet and the ice blockage when freezing occurs. If there is no excessive water pressure, there is no burst pipe, even if the water inside the pipe freezes. The drip can be very slight. Even the slowest drip at normal pressure will provide pressure relief when needed. Where both hot and cold lines serve a spigot, make sure each one contributes to the drip, since both are subjected to freezing. If the dripping stops, leave the faucet(s) open, since a pipe may have frozen and will still need pressure relief.


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