Epic cold, snow and wind


I have friends who live in the South. They don’t get the subzero weather with double-digit below-zero windchills, but sometimes temperatures go below freezing.

Some of the things they do to prevent property damage and stay warm are not good ideas for northern homeowners.  Maybe leaving a faucet trickling water will prevent frozen pipes but here in the frozen Northland, the end result will likely be a frozen drain, and maybe a frozen pipe.

If your house is vacant turn off the water and drain the pipes. Call a plumber for help if needed. I have seen what houses look like after the pipes burst and it isn’t pretty.

Have you ever had a drain freeze? I have and it isn’t pretty.  Water pipes generally won’t freeze unless the air around them is at about 28 degrees or lower for a length of time. We found that if we let the temperature get too low in the house at night there is a pipe that will freeze, especially if it is windy.

I got an estimate for having the pipes moved because they are too close to the foundation and it would be nice not to have to constantly check them, run heat tape, and thaw them when frozen.

It isn’t the freezing that damages that causes pipes to burst it is the thawing. Water expands as it warms up. Turning off the water and opening the spigots and calling a plumber are the best things to do if a pipe freezes.

If you have one that you can thaw yourself or want to thaw yourself, open the spigot and gently warm the pipe with a blow dryer. I have thawed frozen pipes with a blow dryer many times. It takes time and patience.

The last time the pipe that is too close to the wall froze was when I was away on a business trip. I opened the spigot and turned on the heat tape. A couple hours later it was completely thawed.  The temperature has dropped to 30 below zero or so and it remained in the double digits below zero for a few days.

Spigots can also be damaged and ruined if they freeze.

Plumbers and HVAC (heating) specialists are going to be VERY busy this week, but those of us who value our real estate will call a professional rather than ask our friends on social media for advice.

As for the weather, it looks like we have a warm-up coming next week.  Not a thaw but temperatures in the double-digits above zero.

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