The number of calls from clients and friends dealing with frozen pipes, garage doors and window is prompting this brief “public service” announcement on some basic ways to prevent frozen pipes during the polar vortex we’re experiencing in greater Cincinnati.
Rule #1 -we’ve haven’t had this type of weather in many decades- so if you think your pipes won’t freeze …think again. The warm to cold weather swings prompt joints to expand and contract which in turn allows moisture to seep into areas and then freeze.
When in doubt about pipes located under sinks leave the cupboard doors open until this cold blast passes.
Better be safe than sorry-if you’re not sure about freezing pipes -turn on a fast drip from any faucet in the house and let it drip away. This keeps water moving through pipes and while your water bill may a few dollars higher it’s less expensive than recovering from busted pipes.
Pipes located on exterior walls may require a space heater in the room to help maintain a slightly higher room temperature.
If you haven’t uncoupled hoses from outside faucets- do it now (protect yourself against frost bite).
Vacant properties really need to be winterized (call a plumber).
Households with humidifiers- adjust controls for lower humidity. Higher humidity in house causes the inside of the windows to collect moisture and maybe even form ice around the interior window frame. Since it takes about 24 hours for the humidifier to stabilize -leave the setting alone until we return to “normal” winter weather.
Frozen garage doors may be caused by something as simple as melting snow refreezing at night underneath the garage door sash- causing the door to stick. A quick sweep or shovel of excess moisture at the garage entrance may reduce or eliminate the problem. Also gently pushing across the interior of the garage door will help open frozen door seams.
This cold blast will eventually leave Cincinnati alone and in no time we’ll be complaining about summer heat and humidity….in the meantime stay warm and remember the key to surviving the “brrr” is to be proactive when it comes to preventing busted pipes and other cold weather hassles.