By Vanessa Saunders, MBA, MIMC , Broker Owner, Global Property Systems Real Estate.
Anyone watching the news this week has seen Texas freezing with polar-like weather which caused a state-wide electricity blackout. Texans are neither familiar with nor equipped for sub-freezing temperatures. The words “cold snap” in the Lone Star State are usually used to describe a morning low in the mid- to upper- fifties. Because it seldom ever gets cold enough to freeze, homes are minimally insulated and heaters are small.
Aside from uncomfortable living conditions, the most dramatic problem our Texas brethren are facing now is frozen and burst water pipes. Hudson Valley homeowners can certainly relate to this. Burst frozen pipes are a common problem in this area primarily because homeowners don’t know the simple tricks plumbers suggest to keep pipes thawed.
For any outside pipes and hoses which can’t be drained before winter, homeowners can allow a trickle of water to run constantly until temperatures outside get warmer. This keeps pipes from freezing at the minor cost of a little water. Peanuts compared to the expense of fixing and cleaning up burst pipes.
Foam insulation where pipes come into the house is helpful and inexpensive. Also effective is wrapping the most vulnerable pipes with electric heating tape or cable. These are available at any hardware store or big box home improvement center like Lowes or Home Depot.
Hudson Valley home owners planning a winter trip should ask a neighbor (or their favorite local Realtor!) to stop in and check things out as my client did. The last thing anyone wants is to come home to a basement full of water. Homes can also be outfitted with temperature sensors which set off an alarm if indoor temperatures reach a preset level.
Keep in mind that none of these suggestions are 100% effective. That being said, it’s always a good idea to know where the water main shut off is located, so if the worst happens and the water is gushing, you can shut it off until the plumber arrives.