Brrr! Those chilly mornings earlier this week are just a preview of what’s to come this winter, so be sure to be mindful of not just your pets and your plants in the cold weather but also your home’s pipes and water heater.
Yes, those inanimate objects need some extra care, too, according to Linda Stanfield, owner and general manager of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing.
Let’s start with the pipes. While many of the Midwest or East Coast transplants in the Valley of the Sun can hardly imagine that water pipes freeze here, the fact is that they do and the results can be devastating.
"Every couple years, the temperature gets below freezing for a few hours in the night, and the pipes will freeze," she said. “The water inside the pipes will freeze and expand them — just like what happens when you put a soda can in the freezer — and, unfortunately, some people don’t realize there’s a crack or breakage until the water starts to thaw.”
And that’s when you can have a big, soggy mess. So she recommends that any time you hear that freezing temperatures are in the forecast, cover any exterior valves or pipes as well as any pipes in the attic (because it can also get pretty cold up there, too) with something that will keep them warm, like a towel or blanket. And don’t forget that any home, new or old, is at risk.
“In a brand-new house, nothing that’s weather-related is covered by the builder’s warranty,” Stanfield said. “It’s up to us to protect our pipes, and if it’s freezing enough to cover the plants, that’s a good time to cover your pipes and valves, too.”