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How to Avoid Frozen Pipes During Frigid Weather in NJ

Posted by Bonnie Bornstein Fertel on Thu, Jan 09, 2014 @ 09:18 AM

Annual furnace and boiler maintenance may help avoid frozen pipes during very cold weather.

How to Avoid Burst Pipes in NJ

Words of Advice !

New Jersey Frigid Weather Wreaked Havoc on Plumbing Pipes and Heating Systems this past week!

Remember the days of the late 1950, 1960s and even 1970s when temperatures in New Jersey would plunge to the zero mark and often even below?

While so many think global warming is a spoof, temperatures indeed have warmed up, but with a Polar Vortex bringing the most bitter cold weather our area had seen in decades, our phones were ringing off the hook with not only complaints of insufficient heat and frozen pipes. 

The cold weather from the vortex reached as far as Florida. (Chicago had temperatures that felt like 40 degrees below, Minnesota, too.) New Jersey/New York experienced temperatures that felt like 18 degrees below zero. Commuters heading to work in NYC were bundled up from head to toe. Schools in upstate New York were actually closed. IT'S BEEN COLD!

If your home has pipes that run in outside walls and are not properly insulated a consistent burst of cold air could indeed freeze the plumbing line. How do you avoid that? Or at least, try to? Glad you asked! 

We've alerted our northern New Jersey heating customers to be sure they don't drop the temperature on their thermostat during sleeping hours and/or hours that their homes are unoccupied (during the school and work day) because drastic temperatures could make it harder or impossible for indoor temperatures to recover to comfortable temperatures. 

Additionally, we alerted our customers to allow water to slowly flow (a bit more than a drip) so that a small stream of water ran constantly from faucets that may be in unheated areas or have exterior wall piping, to avoid the water remaining in the piping to freeze. Running water will not freeze.

Try hard as we did, we're glad to report that we didn't receive a multitude of panic phone calls from our customers about frozen pipes, but we sure did receive calls from new customers that hadn't received our newsletter alert. An ounce of prevention...as the saying goes.

Going forward, it's not a bad idea if you're plagued with frozen pipe situations repeatedly, to consider insulting those pipes. Your local plumbing contractor can offer you suggestions. And, most important of all...be sure that you have your furnace or boiler serviced annually so that you can rest assured that it's working properly. A failed furnace or boiler during a cold snap of sub-freezing temperatures can create a winter wonderland indoors if a pipe bursts and the temperature drops inside the home to freezing or below. We've seen it, and it's not pretty!

If you're a "snow-bird" and travel south or west from the northeast to warmer climates during winter months be sure to have a friend, neighbor or relative check your home. Here are a few things to have checked:

  • Confirm that your heat is working properly. 
  • Have the faucets in the kitchen or bathroom opened to get some water flow.
  • Flush all the toilets. 
  • Check the water heater area for leaks.
  • If you have a sump pump, perform a test to confirm that it's ready to act if needed. 
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Topics: furnace maintenance, preventing frozen pipes, heating system tips

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