New Jersey American Water advises households to winterize their plumbing to avoid costly pipe repairs.
How Should Customers Prepare?
New Jersey American Water External Affairs Specialist Erin Banes advised checking sprinkler and irrigation systems. Turn off and drain sprinklers and hoses.
Scan the house. Your home’s freezing points. Check crawl spaces, unheated rooms, basements, garages, and external walls for frozen pipes. She advised insulating pipes.
Locate the main water shut-off valve.
Keep the meter pit lid closed and allow snow to cover the outside meters. Snow insulates.
What Are Common Plumbing Issues?
Gregory Tanner, President of FS Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, and General Contracting in Freehold, stated groundwater temperature changes with air temperature.
Water heater metals expand and shrink when groundwater temperature varies. He sees several water heater breakdowns this time of year due to metals being produced differently than 30 years ago.
Tanner said freeze-ups occur as temperatures drop. Thawing causes freeze-ups.
Four days of sub-freezing temperatures. “The lines freeze up and when they warm up, items fall out and the pipes split, causing serious damage to the homes,” he said.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes?
Banes advised running a trickle of water overnight to keep pipes from freezing. Put a bowl or pan in a sink or drain to save water. She advised watering houseplants with it.
Opening cabinet doors expose pipes to warmer room temperatures, preventing freezing.
Freezing pipes—what happens?
Turn off the water now. Turn off the water before thawing frozen pipes. Freezing can cause unnoticed pipe or joint cracks.
Heat the air around the frozen pipe. Banes advised progressively blowing heated air across the pipe from the faucet rearward using a hair drier.
After the pipes thaw, cautiously turn on the water shut-off valve to inspect for cracks and leaks.
If they’re leaving, homeowners may want a freeze alarm.
“It will inform you via whatever phone number you pick if your home temperature dips below 45 degrees and the pipes may be susceptible to freezing,” Banes added.
To avoid freezing, set your thermostat to 55 degrees.
Broken Pipe Repairs: How Much?
Tanner said it might range from two to three hundred dollars to thousands, depending on the situation and damages.
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He stated secondary homes require the most expensive repairs.
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They don’t know how to winterize or shut off valves because they’re rarely there.
Tanner advised calling a local, licensed professional to inspect and evaluate the home. He said this usually costs $150, a decent price compared to a broken pipe repair.
He advised homeowners to tune up their heating systems for winter to avoid failure. Winterize lines if it’s a second house.
Proactive homeowners should check with a professional about their maintenance strategy. Many include plumbing, heating, and cooling.
Plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical work require state licenses. Tanner advised consumers to seek state-licensed providers.
He noted that many scammers pretend to be professional plumbers, HVAC, and electricians.