It may not be a major concern for residents of high-rise apartment buildings, but for people in garden apartments or other buildings with exposed exterior pipes, winter can be an unforgiving time of year. “Frozen pipes can literally put you under water,” says Michael Petri, owner of century-old Petri Plumbing & Heating. “The average cost to repair damage from burst pipes is in the thousands. Preparing your home to avoid these mishaps can save your wallet and help you avoid added stress.” Here are a few tips to keep pipes from freezing:
Allow cold water to drip from faucets. When temperatures are expected to drop, allow faucets to drip slowly because standing water is more susceptible to freezing. Also, make sure all faucets are working.
Monitor the thermostat. Make sure the interior temperature is no lower than 55 degrees, especially if there are plans to travel.
Open cabinets under sinks and vanities. These areas are more susceptible to damage from a temperature drop. Keep cabinets open to maximize the ambient heat circulating in the home. Also, leave bathroom doors open.
Insulate the pipes. There are many products on the market to add insulation to your pipes. Heat tape, pipe sleeves, and heat cable are easy, low-cost options that will add an extra level of protection when temperatures are low.
High-rise buildings with rooftop water tanks are not immune to the ravages of cold weather. “I’ve seen rooftop tanks freeze over,” says Phil Kraus, owner of Fred Smith Plumbing & Heating. “If the temperature drops into the teens and stays there, let a line in the basement connected to the roof tank run to keep the water moving, thus preventing freezing.”