The latest severe cold wave has Long Islanders donning extra clothes…but what about your water pipes?
Water expands as it freezes, putting tremendous pressure on plastic and metal pipes, which can burst. Severe cold doesn’t merely endanger outdoor hose spigots, water sprinkler lines and exterior water supply pipes: Unheated interior basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages and kitchen cabinets are also at risk. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
Take Preventive Action
- Keep garage doors closed.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. (Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children.
- Insulate pipes with a pipe sleeves or UL-listed “heat tape. Pipes should be carefully wrapped ends butted tightly and joints wrapped with tape.
- Maintain the same temperature day and night. You may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent far more costly repair bills if pipes freeze and burst.
- Going away during cold weather? Leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55 ºF.
- Turn off outside hose spigot valve in basement.
- Keep faucets slightly open.
- Relocate exposed pipes if possible.
- Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces to maintain higher temperatures.