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.