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

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