We’re not saying that coming home from vacation to find your Massachusetts home flooded from a burst pipe is the worst-case scenario way to end your trip – a ransacked house with the robbers from that one holiday movie still in the basement? A pile of kindling left behind by an F5 tornado, perhaps? – but we’d like to help you avoid it, if possible.
Most folks already have some form of insulation, but adding more or upgrading can be prudent, especially if you are about to leave town during the colder months. There are many insulation choices to choose from, such as wrapping your pipes directly, insulating the outside-facing wall, or insulating your house as a whole, including in the attic or basement.
Try to prevent cold air from sneaking inside and warmer air from escaping, by checking for weather stripping that needs to be replaced, caulking gaps, cracks or holes, covering windows, and closing vents.
Turning off the water is helpful when you don’t want the water to accumulate where it could freeze. A good example would be the spigot to your outdoor hose. When water freezes, it expands, potentially cracking your pipes, and guess where that hose water is going to go? Right into your basement or whichever part of your home the spigot is inserted into.
It can be a little confusing to hear that you should turn the water off in some areas, but let it drip in others. That’s because letting the water flow, even just a tiny bit, can keep the pipes warmer, since it’s harder for flowing water to freeze. If your water is turned off, it’s a good idea to turn the faucets to ON, so that any water that does enter the pipes will run out.
It’s fine to turn your heat down to save on energy costs. In fact, we always recommend people program their thermostats to take into account when the family is away and not using the warmth generated. But don’t go too low, or turn your heat off altogether. Even if your home is set at a low temperature above freezing, say, 38 degrees, it’s possible that a portion of your home could get colder than that, due to where it’s located, whether there is snow or ice on the ground, etc.
Also, don’t forget to open your cabinets so that tucked-away pipes can “enjoy” the warmth of the home.
If you’ll be away from your home all season, you may consider a longer-term approach to winterizing, such as using antifreeze to pour down drains and sinks, and shutting off and draining toilets and other areas where water is stored, like your water heater. This process can be complex, so feel free to reach out to one of our experienced technicians.
Become a customer today! Our Needham energy experts are happy to answer any questions you may have about this process, or help you decide which winterizing technique works best for your specific home or heating system in Middlesex County and Norfolk County, MA.