You need a special set of conditions to have your pipes freeze. Naturally, if your heat goes out you can freeze your pipes. You have to make sure your heat stays on to prevent frozen pipes. If you have a second home or are going away make sure to plan to prevent frozen pipes. There are many ways to be notified when your heat goes off. Remember you need to know for every zone if you have multiple. If you have an alarm system you can have a control installed on your boiler or furnace, Honeywell R8184G, this control can notify your alarm system when your boiler or furnace goes off on safety. Now for each zone, you can install thermostats that will notify you if that zone gets cold and has no heat. These Honeywell thermostats work well and are what I use. I prefer the Honeywell RTH6580WF due to its low cost. There is also the Nest Thermostat. Ecobee and Vine also make them. Your biggest challenge is that you will need a “C” wire to provide power to the thermostat so you may have to pull a new wire. Usually not a big deal since it is low voltage.
You can also freeze pipes if you are home and your heat is on. I don’t mean to be a wise ass but make sure to close your garage door when you leave for work. We have gotten many calls of people sitting in their cars, just home from work, with water running out of their garage ceiling. They have garage door openers with automatic closers now. The other thing you may find strange is someone freezing pipes when the house is warm from a wood or pellet stove. What happens is with the wood stove cranked the heat will never run. Maybe you leave a bedroom door closed because no one uses it. That room will get very cold with the central heat never running. To prevent frozen pipes maybe let your woodstove cool down at night and let the central heat run.
Cold and Wind
To freeze pipes you need both cold and wind. It is when the wind kicks up that people freeze their pipes. To prevent frozen pipes you have to find and plug any holes in your house. A loose piece of siding, a hole in the sill, a gap where the oil fill enters the house, a broken window. We generally learn of these places after the pipe has frozen. Make sure you discuss with your technician the cause of the freeze so you can get that fixed and prevent more frozen pipes. As a plumber, we will only have time to thaw your pipe and restore your water or heat. We are extremely busy during this weather.
Easy to Prevent
Preventing frozen pipes can be solved sometimes by just cutting a small hole in the sheetrock to allow warmer air into the space. I have done this and installed a small grate over the hole so it looks normal. That pipe never froze again. If the temperature is below 10 degrees Fahrenheit don’t turn your heat down at night. I know it is tempting but don’t do it. Growing up we had to remove the garbage cans from the cabinet under the sink and leave the doors open to prevent the kitchen sink water pipes from freezing. Just something we had to do.
If you have a question or need help feel free to Call Clint Plumbing and Septic Services.
If you attempt to thaw out the pipes on your own – NEVER USE AN OPEN FLAME – NEVER. Hair dryers work best or heat guns. Be careful and don’t leave the heat source alone.