Monthly Archives: February 2015

Artic Cold Temperatures Leaving A Path Of Destruction For Homeowners

Just as we’ve gotten through yet another blast of cold arctic air this winter that brought temperatures to the U.S that we haven’t witnessed in decades, we are to experience another two. Tuesday morning has the potential to be the coldest morning thus far this winter for some cities in the Northeast.

The most recent shot of cold air moved towards the south into the Midwest and Plains on Sunday, and the wind chills were in the 40s below in parts of North Dakota and northern Minnesota on Sunday morning. On Monday, subzero temperatures were seen as far south as Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Lows in the 30s below zero were recorded in some areas of northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and northern Michigan, but in the southern most areas of those states the temperatures stayed in the teens and 20s below zero.

The lowest temperature in the country on Monday was recorded in Clarksburg, which is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The temperature that morning hit 36 degrees below zero.

So, what exactly can this type of weather do to your home? Well the first example that we’ve been seeing with all of this extremely cold weather is frozen/burst pipes. This occurs when the temperature drops below 20 degrees and pipes aren’t adequately insulated, or the heat may not be up high enough. If the pipe freezes, the pressure that it exerts on the pipe can burst it if frozen for too long. Also, water damage due to burst pipes is becoming an issue for residents all over the Northeast and Midwest. Ice damming has been a problem due to the harshly bitter cold as well.
So what can you do to combat this cold and make sure your home and plumbing is in tip top shape until these temperatures become milder? First off, the best preventative action you can take to prevent frozen pipes is by insulating them. Foam pipe insulation can be found at your local hardware store, and it won’t break the bank. If you would rather go with something a little less bulky, heat tape works just as well and can also be found at a local hardware store.

When the temperatures are this cold, it is also a good idea to keep the temperature in your house at 55 degrees or above at all times. Open up the cabinets in your kitchen and bathrooms so that the warmer air can circulate around the pipes and keep the warmth even throughout the pipe. Also, keeping your faucet at a slow trickle will release the pressure and keep the water moving so that it doesn’t have a chance to freeze.

If your pipes do happen to freeze and you have absolutely no idea who to call, call your local plumber for help! If you have sustained minor to major water damages because the pipe burst, you should then also call a certified water damage restoration company as well. If your pipe has only frozen, there are a couple of things that you can do to solve this issue on your own. The first option is to take a electric hair dryer and distribute the heat evenly throughout the pipe so that it thaws out. While doing this, you should have your faucet open so that the water that has thawed isn’t trapped in the pipe. Another option in this case is to soak towels in hot water and wrap them around the pipe. Just as you did with the hair dryer, you will want to keep your faucet open so the pressure of the water doesn’t burst the pipe once you thaw it.

Subzero Temperatures Causing Problems for Homeowners

A swath of more frigid air is making its way through the Midwest and Northeast through the rest of this week. From Chicago to New York city, records are being challenged during this blast of cold air. Some cities that are forecast to dip down into the teens include Birmingham, Charlotte, Columbia, Nashville, and Atlanta. Even residents of Florida will experience a cold chill, where temperatures could spiral downward to the lower 30s in some cities like Orlando, Melbourne, and Daytona Beach.

The worst of this cold is expected to arrive in the East on Thursday and Friday. Through the eastern region temperatures below 0 will be common for the rest of the week, and snow showers will be a common occurrence through the Great Lakes late into the week. These temperatures are dangerous and potentially life threatening. If you plan to go outside at all, make sure to cover up with extra layers, hats, and gloves to stay protected against frostbite and hypothermia.

Water main breaks have become very common throughout the Northeast and Midwest as this extreme cold penetrates deep into the ground, and this could quickly lead to icy areas where the lines may rupture. Even the South isn’t safe from the cold, and if you live in these regions, make sure that your plumbing is protected. If not, the lines could freeze and even some heat-pump furnaces could struggle to keep up with the unbearably cold temperatures.

To prevent your pipes from freezing, it would be a good idea to leave the water in the tap trickling slowly. Also, keep your cabinet doors open in cold rooms where the plumbing lines pass through.

This extreme cold can not only impact pipes to make them freeze, but it can cause pipes to burst as well. Many residents throughout the Northeast, Midwest, and even some areas in the South are currently experiencing a hike in burst pipes due to the cold temperatures. Along with burst pipes, ice damming and water damages are becoming a big problem on properties.

Once an ice dam forms, it can begin to send water into the home and if it isn’t taken care of, can lead to more extensive water damage and even mold in some cases. It is important to check on your plumbing systems and other areas of your home to make sure that your pipes aren’t freezing and that everything is in good working order. It is also beneficial to you, the homeowner, to know where your water main shut off valve is in case of a pipe burst. That way, you can minimize the damage by turning off the water.

To completely avoid these types of winter-weather related issues, you should take preventative measures in the fall and winterize your pipes and property. Water damage due to burst pipes can be very costly, and is not always covered by your standard homeowner’s insurance policy. If you suspect that your pipes have frozen, here are some tips to help you thaw them:

– Keep your faucet open. As the frozen areas start to melt, the water will flow out and running water will help melt ice in the pipe.

– Apply some heat to the frozen area using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, a hair dryer, or towels soaked in hot water.

– Use a portable space heater (kept away from any flammable materials) to warm underneath the house. You should NEVER leave your heater unattended.

– Apply heat until your water pressure is restored.

– If you cannot find the area that is frozen, it is not easily accessible, or you cannot seem to thaw it, call your local licensed plumber to come out and have a look at it.