I believe I have seen some snow flakes today. Mother nature is warning us that she is going to be making some changes around here. The switch in seasons has reminded me of times when the winter has done damage to real estate in the circle of people I know. If I had a nickel for every time a pipe froze and burst in a property of someone I know, I would probably have about fifteen cents. In my opinion, that's fifteen cents too many. The cost of remediation in the event of a burst pipe is not worth trying to save a few dollars on your energy expenses over the winter. As your vacant assets sit quietly throughout the winter, don't forget to take preventative measures in protecting your real estate when the mercury drops. According to State Farm Insurance, we should be setting our thermostat for no lower than 55°F (12°C) to prevent pipes from freezing. If you are using the the thermostat as your only line of defense, be cautious of power outages during the winter. For added protection, you can also shut off your water and drain the water lines. This can be used as a main defense in order to save energy costs, but be careful if you chose to use it as your only precautionary measure. There are many variables to watch for and each step must be carried out in specific order to ensure that there isn't a pool of sitting water somewhere in the lines. The least fun part of doing this particular option is emptying out the toilets with a sponge. You have to get the water out of the tank and out of the bowl, so buy yourself some good, dependable rubber gloves. If it is your first time emptying water lines, have a plumber come and help you and maybe even have him or her explain each step so you know for next year. One thing to remember with emptying water lines is it will disable any fire sprinkler systems. Another tip is to leave a trickle of hot water on at the faucets. The constant, albeit slow trickle of warm water can be enough to keep the pipes warm enough not to freeze. Essentially, you must either remove ALL water from the building and let it get cold, or you ensure that the water in the lines is able to stay warm.
If turn on your water after your house has been left cold and nothing comes out of the faucets, you may have frozen pipes. If your pipes do freeze, leave the faucets on and call a plumber. Do not use electrical appliances near standing water and do not try to thaw your pipes with a torch or flame. You may be able to slowly thaw your pipes with the warm air of hair dryer. Work from the faucet to the coldest spot of the pipe. If your pipes have burst, shut off your water and leave all facets turned on while you call a plumber.
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