Just because your pipes made it through previous St. Louis winters does not mean they will withstand the upcoming dropping temperatures. We never know why one winter’s degree of cold penetrates the pipe’s insulation, or lack thereof, resulting in the freezing and bursting of the pipe.
If you live in a condominium or attached-home, you might be especially concerned because your neighbor’s water from their burst pipe could become your nightmare. Be sure to share the tips below with your neighbors. Or, if you have greater concerns about vacant units, be sure to bring those to your Board member’s attention.
1. If you have outside faucets, remove all hoses and turn off the inside shutoff valve. If you forgot, do it NOW, so that if the pipes have frozen, the resulting water will not run into your home when the ice thaws. If there is no individual shutoff valve, check to see if the pipe appears frozen, and BE HOME WHEN IT THAWS in order to shut off water to the whole house if the pipe breaks.
2. If you have plumbing fixtures on an outside wall, be sure to leave vanity or cabinet doors open so heat can get to the pipes. You may wish to leave the hot and cold water running slightly as an added precaution.
3. Be sure your heat is set at no less than 65 degrees, day and night, while the outside temperature is less than 20 degrees.
4. If your home will be unoccupied for a time, DO NOT TURN YOUR HEAT OFF! If your home will be unoccupied for an extended time, it is safest to arrange to have your home’s water system winterized. If you don’t winterize, at least leave these instructions and your key with a neighbor or relative, in case of severely cold weather.