Excellent Q and A on freezing pipesFebruary 9th, 2013 at 1:30 pm by petemangione under Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog
Below is a question that was submitted on our blog. It is such a common question, I thought I would post her question and my answer. Her question in bold, and my response is below……..
Any tips on how to keep pipes from freezing if you don’t have a generator and no fireplace? How long before that becomes an issue with the temperatures set to drop again tonight. I’m out of town so not in a cold house and with the storm have no way to get back any time soon. I also cannot reach anyone – phones also are out – to check on the house. The heat has been off now for 18 hours. Any ideas that you can share about how long it takes with these kinds of temps and wind chills for the temp to drop close to freezing inside the house?
Based on my own experience and the forecast for the next several days, here is what I can tell you (a few excellent articles on weather.com also helped me research this topic).
The good news is that temperatures dipping below freezing don’t necessarily freeze pipes. It usually takes temperatures much colder. Temperatures below 20° for an extended amount of time can freeze pipes, but pipes in northern climates can survive temperatures well below that level. This is because homes in northern climates are built to give pipes a better chance of making it through freezing weather.
Unfortunately tonight, the forecast takes us into the single digits and low teens. However, that’s no guarantee that your pipes will freeze. Sunday we get back into the upper 30s, and Monday into the 40s. Therefore, if your pipes can get through tonight you have a good chance of being OK.
If you know a friend or neighbor that can get into your home tonight, have them try letting the water drip a bit from a faucet. If the water does not come out, turn the faucet off and have them contact a plumber. If water DOES drip out, keep letting it drip as this may prevent freezing. It’s probably a good idea for you friend to keep an eye on things during this process.