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Help Prevent Freezing Pipes in Winter Months | norcum
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Help Prevent Freezing Pipes in Winter Months

Frozen and bursting pipes can cost thousands of dollars to repair and can make a building uninhabitable for weeks to months. Lets talk about what landlords and tenants can do to deal with freezing temperatures and freezing pipes.

1.  Tenants can open their taps when it’s extremely cold out to prevent pipes bursting.  It’s not guaranteed to stop the freeze from happening, but, a fast drip is enough to release the pressure of freezing water that will burst pipes.

2.  Landlords can insulate pipes that are in unheated areas of the building.  We have found wrapping some pipes with heat tape to be very helpful.

3.  Landlords can seal up drafts in crawlspaces and basements.  Plumbers always tell me “the problem is not the temperature as much as it is the draft!” when I’ve talked with them about frozen pipe fears.  On a breezy day just walk around the space and check out where you feel fresh air coming from.

4.  In older, poorly insulated buildings, for pipes in a cabinet, under a sink on an outside wall, tenants have prevented freezing pipes by leaving the cupboard open so the warmer air may reach the pipes.

5.  Landlords, remember to shut off and empty exterior taps (if you don’t have outdoor freeze proof spigots) before the cool temperatures begin.

6.  Landlords can use a hairdryer to safely thaw a pipe that has frozen. Again, make sure taps are open so pressure from heating does not cause a break. Investing in a good spaceheater can warm up a frozen area very quickly, and make working on the pipes more pleasant while helping to thaw things out!  Then, keeping safety in mind, setup a heater in that area to prevent further freezes from happening.

7.  For a frozen drainpipe you can remove the trap and insert a garden hose (as far as you can) then send in hot water.  This is a good idea when you cannot access the outside of the frozen section.

This may well be the toughest time of year for a landlord as a frozen or bursting pipe is scary and expensive.  When tenants and landlords work together to avoid these disasters they will happen less and less.  And keep in mind, if you can prevent and avoid these problems, then it’s smooth sailing to spring.

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