Prepare pipes for hard freeze in southeast
Southeastern states will have the coldest weather of the season this week, so residents should take precautions today to avoid frozen pipes, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.
The National Weather Service reports that high temperatures are forecast to be 9 degrees warmer today in Reykjavik, Iceland, (40 degrees) than in Atlanta (31 degrees ). In central Florida, the weather service reports that a hard freeze is expected tonight into Tuesday morning, and low temperatures are forecast to fall into the lower to mid-20s, including up to 11 hours of below-freezing temperatures.
Unlike in parts of the country where freezing weather is common, homes and businesses in Florida, Georgia and other southeastern states are not typically built with freezing weather in mind. Exposed pipes are common and rarely insulated. When pipes freeze, pressure builds up between the ice blockage and the faucet. The pipes can burst, sending water flowing into the surrounding areas and causing thousands of dollars in damage.
IBHS offers these guidelines for preventing frozen pipes:
- Insulate all accessible pipes using pipe insulation (this can be found at your local hardware store).
- Keep all exterior entry, exit and overhead doors to unheated spaces closed as much as possible during the winter months.
- When extreme cold weather is predicted, let all faucets drip to prevent freezing of the water inside the pipe and if freezing does occur, to relieve pressure buildup in the pipes between the ice blockage and the faucet. The pressure buildup is the actual cause of bursting pipes.
- If any pipes are located adjacent to exterior walls or within base-cabinets or in closets, leave the cabinet/closet doors open or use a fan to increase warm air circulation around the pipes.
- If you have rest rooms, kitchens, or service rooms with water sources located on exterior walls, it is likely that the plumbing for these systems is located inside the exterior walls. Or, if you have piping coming up through the floor over an unheated room or unheated crawlspace under your building, it is likely there is plumbing exposed to freezing weather.
- If you have time to prepare, seal all cracks, holes, and other openings on the exterior walls are sealed tightly with caulk or insulation to prevent cold air from penetrating the wall cavity.
© 2012 Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety