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.