Your house’s pipes can be threatened by extreme cold weather
This extreme cold can also threaten pipes around your dwelling. If they get too cold and freeze, they can rupture and create a flooding mess.
New York plumber Tommy Webber, owner of T. Webber Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning, says pipes from a boiler that lead to radiators or baseboards can freeze if it gets too cold.
"The next seven to 10 days, temperatures are going to be really cold, and you are definitely going to be exposed to some threatening weather conditions. So pipes will freeze, they will burst," he said Wednesday as temperatures in New Jersey dropped to below freezing.
"Really, all pipes that are carrying water, delivering water or circulating water are at risk."
He adds, "Sometimes contractors do not install pipes properly. A lot of times we will see piping going to the kitchen sink that is on an outside wall. Those tend to freeze up. With the older homes, there might be more drafts in the basement areas."
Webber says when it's this cold, keep your thermostat between 68 and 70 to ward off pipe freeze.
If you have a garage and plumbing runs through it, keep the garage door shut.
If the worst happens and a pipe bursts, Webber says, "the main thing is to know where that main water shut-off valve is and being able to shut that down."
If your home is not connected to natural gas, he says make sure that you have enough heating oil or propane — and use it.
"You do not want to be too worried about conserving all kinds of energy right now," he said.
Webber says if you catch it early, sometimes frozen pipes can be thawed before they rupture.
"You can try to bring some heat into that area, with an electric radiator. But do not do anything unsafe like using an open flame or anything like that."
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