About 15 years ago, my parents had super cold temps. A pipe in their house was in an enclosed space and the pipe burst in the middle of the night. Water filled the ceiling of the main floor and ran for hours until early morning. The damage cost more than $30,000 to fix and the repairs took months.
A few precautions could have prevented this disaster. These historic cold temps we are having now may cause a similar problem with you and so we are passing along these simple and easy precautions:
Many home heating systems have never experienced these cold temps. It is not a problem for the outdoor boilers, but the in-home systems that your outdoor boiler interfaces with may not be designed to properly handle this cold. Many heating systems are NOT designed for -20 to -30-degree temperatures with wind chills into -40 and up to -50+ Again, a properly maintained outdoor boiler will function just fine, but the in-home system may struggle.
By this we mean that in-home systems will struggle to maintain temperature & the temperature WILL drop inside your home while the heating system is working at full capacity.
You need to take a few steps to be diligent to protect your home over the next few days.
1. Please raise the temperature in your home 2 to 4 degrees above your normal setting. Get the core of your house warmer because it's going to drop no matter what over the next couple days.
2. Take all programmable thermostats out of setback mode and set on a permanent HOLD of 72-74 degrees until Friday.
3. If you have a furnace; replace the filter. MAKE SURE your filter is CLEAN or new.
4. Keep garage doors closed.
5. Limit opening exterior doors.
6. Make sure air vents and radiators are not blocked or obstructed by furniture or curtains.
7. If you have a 90%+ furnace, You must keep the exterior intake and exhaust clear of ice and snow. During these cold temperatures, ice can build up. A 90%+ furnace and/or boiler will have 2 white PVC pipes; an exhaust pipe and an intake pipe that are generally on the side or back of your home.
Avoid frozen pipes
1) The faucet furthest away from your water meter, leave on a slow trickle to avoid pressure building up within the pipes. This will introduce warmer well or city water into the pipes that will not freeze if it is flowing at least slowly.
2) Open cabinet doors under sinks to allow warm air near water pipes. (This would have saved my parents home!)
3) WHIRLPOOL bathtubs. If you have an indoor whirlpool tub with a tile deck built around it, locate the access panel and leave it open for the next few days. This will allow warm air to circulate under your tub and around the water pipes
4) Locate your main water shut off valve in your basement. If you do experience a burst water pipe, it will be extremely important to be able to turn the water off quickly.
Stay warm and safe this week and share this with any of your family and friends.