According to the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness, nearly a quarter of a million homes will have one or more rooms damaged this winter due to a failure to keep pipes from freezing and breaking. These weather patterns disrupt lives, damage belongings and permanently ruin family mementos.
It won’t be long before someone says that the weather outside is frightful. Winter 2017-2018 is on the horizon, and the Climate Prediction Center of the National Weather Service has issued a La Niña advisory that has NOAA forecasters predicting a colder, wetter winter for the Great Lakes region.
With severe cold, high winds, and below zero wind-chill temperatures forecast this winter, being proactive about prevention now can save you time and money this winter. Here are a few tips and tricks you can follow before the temperatures drop.
Disconnect and put away garden hoses, drain all water lines to swimming pools and automatic sprinkler systems, and shut off the water valves to all outside faucets.
Use sleeve-style pipe insulation to protect all visible pipes in basements, attics, crawl spaces, and garages. When possible, add insulation batting between pipes and outer walls. Your goal is to keep temperatures in these areas from dropping below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Limit Exposure to the Cold
Before the winter weather arrives, take a walk around your house and look for drafts. Using caulk or insulation, cover any gaps you find, plug holes, and seal leaks around electrical wiring, pipes, and dryer vents. Even tiny openings can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze and crack – both PVC and copper pipes are susceptible to cold air. And a crack of just 1/8 of an inch can leak up to 250 gallons of water a day.
Let it Drip
Finally, during the worst of it, let your faucets drip a little. Not something that you need to do all winter long, but when the temperatures are predicted to fall dramatically, leave taps that have to pipe on outside walls slightly open so that they trickle or regularly drip to keep pipes from freezing and bursting.
If Your Pipes Freeze …
Open the faucet and use a heating pad or electric hair dryer to warm the pipe gently. Always exercise extreme caution using electrical appliances around water.
And finally, if worse comes to worse, and the unthinkable happens, act quickly. Turn off the water at the main shut-off valve to the house and call Kellermeier Plumbing at 616-866-5134.