A polar vortex is expected this week throughout the central United States. Temperatures are forecasted to reach 5 to 30 degrees below zero across the upper Midwest region including Chicago, central Illinois, Indianapolis, and the twin cities Minneapolis/St. Paul. In addition, this arctic blast will be accompanied by strong winds Tuesday through Thursday. Wind chills are expected to be in the 30s, 40s, and 50s below zero.
Frozen pipes are a major water damage risk during this arctic blast. Pipes can freeze at your property when temperatures drop rapidly or stay below the freezing point (32° Fahrenheit/ 0° Celsius) for an extended period. Once a pipe freezes and has expanded, the pipe can break and cause your home or business to flood. To prevent this type of disaster from occurring at your place, follow these top 10 frozen pipe prevention tips from ServiceMaster DSI:
- Letting a water faucet drip can prevent water damage from frozen pipes: During cold weather, release pressure in the water system by allowing water drip from both hot and cold lines. If the pipes do freeze, dripping water will reduce the likelihood of a rupture.
- Winterize outside faucets to prevent freezing and burst pipes: ServiceMaster DSI sees frequent water damage to the inside of homes because of outside faucets. Always disconnect the garden hose from the outside faucet then determine if your faucet is frost-free. If your outdoor faucet is not frost-free, your outside faucet water line needs to be turned off and drained out.
- Make sure all pipes are insulated: Pipes on outer walls, crawl spaces, attics, or any pipe that is around a hole to the outside air are most vulnerable to freezing. Purchase foam tape and pipe insulation from any hardware store and install around these susceptible pipes to prevent them from freezing.
- Turn up the thermostat: A good rule of thumb is to find the coldest temperature in your house where pipes are located and make sure your temperature is at least 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors under sinks (especially if these pipes are located on outside walls): Keeping these doors opened will allow warmer room air to circulate these uninsulated pipes and prevent them from freezing.
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage: Keeping the garage door closed and the temperature warmer than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, will help insulate your home and prevent pipes from freezing.
- Seal leaking windows, doors, and any other areas that have cold leaking issues: When temperatures are cold during a polar vortex, windows that have gusts of wind come through and hit pipes can cause them to freeze. Caulk or inject foam sealant around windows that leak air. To prevent pipes from freezing and save you money on energy costs.
- Monitor water pressure: Keep an eye out for inconsistent water pressure. Irregular water pressure could be a sign of severe plumbing problems such as plumbing blockages and could mean your pipes are more at risk to freeze. If you notice different water pressures, identify and fix the problem to prevent frozen pipes.
- Know where your main water valve shut-off is located: If a pipe breaks, turn the water shut-off valve off immediately to prevent more water damage. Wasting time to find the shut-off after a loss has occurred could cost you hundreds of dollars.
- Always have emergency contact numbers on-hand: Always have your insurance agent, a licensed plumber, and ServiceMaster DSI’s phone number, 888-413-3130, accessible in case you have an emergency.
Sometimes even when you take all the preventative steps, your pipes can still freeze and burst. If this happens and you need water mitigation services remember that our ServiceMaster DSI experts are available 24/7/365. Contact us at 844-413-3130 or click here to request service right away.