How to Prevent Frozen Pipes for Homes Near Sicklerville, NJ
If you’re worried about your pipes freezing overnight, here are four quick steps to prevent it from happening:
- Let your faucets trickle
- Keep the thermostat on a high setting
- Open your kitchen cabinets
- Keep garage doors shut
A few weeks ago, we talked about what to do if your pipes are frozen. This week, we’re backing up and looking at how you can prevent it from happening in the first place.
The problem with frozen pipes is that eventually, enough pressure builds up and causes the pipe to burst. Then, you’re dealing with flooding in the house.
Fortunately, it’s a fairly easy problem to avoid. You just need to stay vigilant and take a few precautions when it gets cold out.
In this post, we’ll let you know how to prevent this problem. And, we’ll offer up a few estimates on how much it will cost you — and how much money you can save.
Let Your Faucets Trickle
If the temperature is dropping very low overnight, let your faucets drip when you go to bed. The idea behind it is simple: Moving water won’t freeze. As long the water is flowing, even a little, it doesn’t stay still long enough to turn to ice.
You don’t have to do this every night — only when it gets cold enough. We’ll get into that a little later.
And, all you need a fast drip for each one. A steady stream isn’t necessary. Just a little movement in each sink does the trick.
At most, this adds $15 to $20 to your water bill in a month. But, that’s assuming you do it every night. That probably won’t be necessary.
Keep the Thermostat on a High Setting
Next, don’t turn down your thermostat at night. Usually, people lower their temperature when they go to sleep. But, if you’re concerned about frozen pipes, don’t do it.
That way, the plumbing stays warm when the temperature drops.
It’s a little harder to calculate the cost here, but we can get close.
According to the Department of Energy, keeping the thermostat at 68 degrees during the day is the optimal setting. Then you can drop it 10 degrees or a little more at night to save money.
Following that rule can save you up to 10 percent on your energy bills.
An average New Jersey heating bill is around $100 in the winter. So, it’s give or take about $10 a month. That depends on how often you follow the guidelines, and how many nights you leave the thermostat on the higher setting.
Open Your Kitchen Cabinets
This one’s simple. And, it won’t cost you a cent: Open your kitchen cabinets before you go to bed.
There’s plenty of plumbing under there. Lines connect to the sink and your dishwasher. But, it doesn’t get as much heat as the rest of the room.
So, open those doors so that the area gets warm. Do the same in your bathrooms, too.
Keep Your Garage Doors Closed
Most people do this anyway, but it’s worth mentioning: Make sure your garage doors are shut at night when it’s especially cold out.
Most garages aren’t heated, to begin with. So, they’re likely to make the rooms around them colder.
After all, heat is attracted to cold. So, any thermal energy near a cold spot will gravitate toward it.
This tactic is the opposite of keeping the cabinets open. Here, you’re keeping the heat where you want it, not letting it spread and escape.
The bonus here is keeping the rooms around it warmer — and maybe saving a dollar or two on your heating bill.
Prevent Frozen Pipes When You’re Not Home
If you won’t be home for a few days, or if you’re worried about a vacation home, make sure the thermostat stays above 55 degrees at all times to prevent frozen pipes.
It’s tempting to keep it even lower or turn it off completely when no one’s there. But, then, you run the risk of the plumbing not staying warm enough.
And, a burst can end up flooding the entire house if you’re not there to catch it.
In fact, 55 degrees is a rule of thumb at all times, whether you’re there or not. Keep it above that setting to prevent this problem.
When Should I Worry About Pipes Freezing?
Of course, you don’t want to leave your faucets dripping and your thermostat up every night in the winter. Fortunately, that’s not necessary. You only need to take these precautions when the temperature dips below 20 degrees at night.
When it’s that cold outside, there’s a chance of ice forming in your plumbing inside.
Generally, homes in the northern part of the country are better-insulated than in the south. So, while 20 degrees outside is enough to cause the problem, New Jersey homes can usually hold up at even lower temps than that.
So, what do you do?
If the temperature’s down in the teens, at least leave the thermostat closer to 68 than 55. And, open those cabinets.
If you’re really worried, or if you’ve had problems before, open the faucets a little, too.
Finally, keep an eye on the news for any warnings from Aqua America or your township or municipal utility. They’ll let you know there’s been a rash of frozen pipe cases in the area.
In the meantime, you can also take a few steps to protect your home in general.
Thermostat Settings and Insulation
We mentioned before keeping the thermostat over 55 degrees even when you’re not there. So, doing that every night will help.
You can also invest in pipe insulators. These are inexpensive — usually less than a dollar per square foot. You just need to know which lines need them, and the most strategic spots to place them.
In a pinch, however, you can wrap pipes in pool noodles to keep them warm overnight. They’ll do a decent job of keeping heat from escaping.
Finally, make sure your home is well-insulated in general. Keeping as much heat as you can in the house keeps the plumbing warm, too.
And, it makes you more comfortable in the winter and keeps your energy bills down.
If you need more ideas on preventing frozen pipes, or if you’ve had problems with this in the past, give Bovio a call. We’ve served South Jersey for decades, and know plenty about the specific challenges the different types of homes in our area face.
We’re happy to help you stay warm — and dry! — all winter long.
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