From the looks of the snow piling up outside, it appears that winter has finally arrived in New England! If you’re considering taking a trip to a warmer climate or turning your heating off to save money, here are some things you should know:
It Starts with Prevention
- Insulate your Pipes – especially if they’re on outside walls, attics or crawlspaces. The more insulation, the better!
- Wrap Pipes – Use heat tape or thermostatically-controlled heat cables. Make sure to have them professionally installed by a licensed contractor.
- Seal Air Leaks – Cold air can enter around electrical wiring, dryer vents and plumbing and through door and window seals. Check caulking and weather-stripping regularly and replace anything that’s old and cracked.
- Keep Exterior Doors & Windows Tightly Closed – Seems obvious, but we had to mention it!
- Turn Off Outdoor Hoses – Put away hoses and turn off the water supply to hoses and sprinkler systems.
- Allow Warm Airflow into Unheated Utility Rooms – Make sure that warm air can get into your utility room if it’s in an unheated area.
- Let the Water Run – If you must leave the heat off, leave your faucets running at a trickle if they’re on outside walls.
- Know Where Your Shutoff Is – In case of an emergency, you should always know how to turn off the water supply to your unit.
If you turn your faucet on and nothing comes out, turn off your main water supply, leave the faucets on and call a plumber right away. Never try to thaw frozen pipes with a blowtorch or other open flame. You can try a hairdryer on a warm setting, working from the faucet toward the colder section of the pipe. If a pipe has burst, be aware of the risk of electrical shock – stay away from any standing water.
We also suggest having a neighbor, friend or family member check on your condo or apartment if you’re going to be away for an extended period. Be sure to leave them with emergency contact information for you, as well as your property manager, plumber and electrician.