FREEZING WATER PIPES

Asked December 30, 2014, 1:11 PM EST

A customer called to ask at what temperatures she should be concerned about water pipes freezing, especially with the lack of snow cover. She is in a remodeled cottage and knows that pipes are not well protected. She asked whether keeping her water running would help, and if so, how big a stream.

I told her there are a lot of variables, but are there some general guidelines we can give her?

Thank you.

Presque Isle County Michigan home ownership home energy new home design and construction drinking water winter septic systems emergency preparedness frozen pipes

1 Response

The stream of water does not have to be large. Keeping the surrounding temperature above 55oF is recommended. Even low-cost measures to insulate pipes, keep areas under sinks warm, and seal gaps around pipes can be helpful.

The American Red Cross has a good web page here
http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm/preventing-thawing-frozen-pipes

The Philadelphia Water Department recently posted a video which is geared toward those on city water systems but still has good tips. http://vimeo.com/83528597

If the home is on a septic system, pay attention to the drainfield and make sure it is functioning properly, and don't run the water more than necessary.
http://septic.umn.edu/owners/seasonalcare/index.htm