Protecting Your Pipes from Freezing

The cold snap that we have had in Florida has brought some frigid temperatures, mainly to north Florida. Freezing temperatures for even a couple of hours can cause serious problems for homeowners. Here’s what you should do to prevent that from happening.

As a general rule, temperatures outside must drop to at least 20 degrees or lower to cause pipes to freeze. In southern states such as Florida, the pipes in many Florida homes can freeze when the temperature drops to below 30 degrees. Places from Ocala northward have been experiencing these types of temperatures. Also, where in northern counties, where the temperatures can fall below freezing during cold snaps, modern homes tend not to be well insulated as in the northeast to provide for extra protection.

Freezing pipes come with a hefty price tag, according to Robert Yoder of Romark AC & Plumbing. Yoder says the best way to combat this is when the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – can help prevent pipes from freezing. Also, keep the thermostat inside the house set to the same temperature both during the day and at night..

This is only necessary unless temperatures are expected to be 28 degrees or below for at least 4 hours, which is typical in our northern counties.  Even in this short amount of time, some of the most common issues are broken water heaters, frozen pipes and frozen outdoor faucets. These problems are not cheap to fix.

“If you have a leaky faucet, what will happen when it actually goes below freezing is that it will build an ice block and freeze the whole bib and bust,” Yoder said. “Water damage can be very expensive.”

Yoder said repairs can range from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand depending on the issue. But experts say some of these damages can be easily prevented by taking preventative measures. Yoder recommends taking water hoses out of your outdoor faucets and closing your water main if you won’t be home for more than 24 hours.

“Chances are any kind of freezing to occur in South Florida is unlikely, but it can happen with those strong cold fronts that come through. So, if anything happens to freeze or any kind of other plumbing related issue were to happen, you’re not flooding your house or garage,” Yoder said.

Yoder says these steps can save people lots of money in the long run when temperatures drop like this during the winter.

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