With the temperature hovering below freezing, we have more to worry about
than finding matching gloves and a scarf. Our pipes may be feeling the frost as
well, and often times burst before we figure it out. A burst pipe often times
causes significant flooding in your home, which can lead to major problems,
including dangerous mold.
Robert Weitz, a Certified Microbial Investigator and founder of
Stamford-based RTK Environmental Group, has these tips.
“Pipes freeze for three main reasons – quick drops in temperature, poor
insulation, and thermostats set at too low a temperature,” said Weitz. So what
can you do to protect yourself from your pipes freezing?
- Insulate pipes in your home’s crawl spaces and attic, since exposed
pipes are most susceptible to freezing;
- Seal spaces and openings that allow cold air inside near where pipes
- A trickle of water can prevent your pipes from freezing. Open your
faucet and let it drip;
- Don’t change the thermostat dramatically at night. Dropping it a
degree or two is fine, but sudden drops in temperature can cause your pipes to
- Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under
sinks and appliances near exterior walls;
- Disconnect garden hoses, turn off the water supply valve inside, and
keep the faucets open outside.
"If you open a faucet and no water comes out, don’t take any chances –
call in a plumber to see what the story is," Weitz advises. If a water
pipe bursts, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve and leave the faucet
open. Try to dry out the area as quickly as possible.
"Damp and wet areas are prime locations for mold growth, which can
blossom within 24 hours," he warns. Once the repairs are complete, have an
independent certified microbial inspector come in to test the area and make
sure there is no lingering mold.
For more tips and information on home repairs, renovations, mold, flooding,
and more, click here.
For additional information on freezing and bursting pipes, you can visit the
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