Winter isn’t over yet!

Orphie in 2009

This image of Orphie compliments of the  Slumbering Groundhog Lodge.

Okay, so Octoraro Orphie saw his shadow last Monday.  Given the recent weather conditions, it certainly seems that he was once again right on the mark, and with a vengeance!

It’s cold out, really cold.  Not only is it below freezing outside, there are locales in the neighborhood that are down in the single digits.  And with a good breeze, to boot!  We’re getting plenty of frozen and burst water pipe calls.  While that might be good for business for us, we would rather share some tips and ideas to help you out and give you some peace of mind.

You might think, “…so what if my pipe (of outside faucet) is frozen?  Nothing’s happening; what do I have to worry about?” 

You might be okay for now…but what happens when the pipe finally thaws out?  How do you know it didn’t split?  While it is still frozen, you have no way of knowing without a close examination of it.  If it is buried in a wall or ceiling, how are you going to find out?

Well, you will…by the big wet stain or the water pouring out from somewhere.

We would rather you not get to that point.

Here are some helpful tips to hopefully help you out or minimize your risk of freezing and breaking of a pipe:

  • split pipeTurn a faucet on to a slow trickle on an especially cold night to aid in keeping it from freezing solid. If you anticipate freezing problems or you have time in advance, try to get insulation between the pipe and the outside to help keep the pipe in the “heat envelope” of your home.
  • Don’t assume that putting pipe insulation on a pipe in a cold or drafty space is going to keep it from freezing!  If you don’t have some sort of warm atmosphere to surround it (and thus the insulation would hold that in) you are kidding yourself.  The insulation will only delay the inevitable.  To really help yourself, include a heat tape or heat trace, wrapped around the outside of the insulation that you have placed around your pipe.

     

    If you have a frozen pipe, contact us at 717.299.5641 or email us to schedule a service call.

 

  • Turn off the water supply to all outdoor faucets, including water supplies to your garage, and remove any hoses connected to those faucets. After making sure that the water is turned off, open your outdoor faucets to let any water trapped inside drain out.
  • Leave kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors below a sink open so warm air can circulate around the water supply pipes.
  • Know where your main water valve is and how to use it should a pipe burst and you need to turn the water off quickly.
  • Do you have a ‘drop ceiling’ with removable tiles? If so, do you have water lines above the ceiling that are at risk of freezing? Evaluate the temperature difference below and above suspended ceiling tiles. Remove a few tiles overnight to allow warm air to circulate above those tiles should you find the difference substantial.
  • It would be good not to allow a programmable thermostat to decrease your temperature overnight during zero or near-zero conditions.

Remember, many times a frozen pipe will show no signs of a leak until AFTER it begins to thaw. Constant vigilance in the days after a sub-zero night is required to make sure that a thawed pipe doesn’t start leaking or burst.

If you suspect that you have a frozen pipe or that your water flow seems much less than usual during this cold weather, contact us at 717.299.5641 or email us to schedule a service call.