We all know it gets cold in Wisconsin, but the brutal cold we experienced this past January has been described as something we haven’t seen in decades. Milwaukee set an actual record of –21 degrees, breaking one that had stood since 1899.
One of the biggest worries during that kind of deep freeze is, of course, losing heat in your home—and the resulting danger of water pipes freezing.
A freezing pipe is at risk of bursting, and a burst pipe can cause lots of trouble—and be very expensive to repair. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you avoid this stressful situation in the future.
- Leave your thermostat set no lower than 60° F if you plan to be away from home in winter—even higher if temperatures are forecasted to be super-low.
- Plug or caulk holes that allow water lines to be exposed to cold air.
- Open kitchen cabinet doors, allowing heat into areas where water pipes may be located.
- Check in and around your home for water lines in colder or unheated areas. Insulate both cold and hot water lines in areas such as your garage, crawl spaces and your attic. Consider a heated cable or electric heat tape if the area remains cold and can’t be easily warmed up.
- If the cold weather is sustained or severe, allow a small trickle of warm and cold water through the faucet.
What do you do if your pipes freeze?
- Leave the water faucet slightly open.
- Use a hair dryer or space heater—never use a device with an open flame—to thaw the frozen section of the pipe.
- Keep the area as warm as possible, or wrap pipes with thermostatically controlled heat tape to keep pipes from freezing again.
- Call a plumber immediately if you see any water coming from the pipe.
Your oilheat dealer is committed to your comfort, especially during severe winter weather. Don’t hesitate to reach out so they can help to keep you stay safe and warm during our Wisconsin winters.