As temperatures drop, your pipes grow more and more susceptible to cracks and ruptures. Water is unique in that it expands when it freezes, unlike most materials that contract with drops in temperature. Without proper preparation, dropping temperatures can freeze the water in your pipes, and the extreme pressure will likely force your pipes to burst. If a pipe freezes, bursts and introduces water into your indoor environment, your property can be left vulnerable to mold development. Best practice is to keep your pipes from freezing in the first place. As we head into the winter months, preventative maintenance throughout your home in essential to avoiding frozen pipes and potential mold risks.
Quick Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes in New Jersey
The following is a list of some quick and easy tips to prevent frozen pipes as temperatures begin to drop. Taking the time to prepare your home will help to avoid serious and costly damage further down the line.
Insulate your pipes:
Exposed pipes may be more vulnerable to freezing than others depending on the location of the pipe. Exposed pipes located in unheated spaces (i.e: attic, crawl space, garage, etc.), within exterior walls and/or on the exterior of the home are especially susceptible to freezing. Installing insulation around your pipes will help to prevent them from freezing.
Allow your faucets to drip:
It will reduce the pressure buildup in your pipes and keep the water moving. Even a slight trickle will make a difference.
Set your thermostat:
Set the same temperature for day and night to help maintain consistent warmth for your plumbing. Most of us like to set the thermostat for a lower temperature through the night or during long absences from the home (i.e: holiday trips, weekend getaways, etc.) to cut down on energy costs. But a higher energy bill will be significantly more favorable than an expensive repair and restoration job.
If absolutely necessary, dropping your thermostat a degree or two at night is fine, but try to avoid dramatic temperature shifts. If you and your family plan on being away during cold weather, leave the heat running at a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors:
During the evening or when you are away from your home, keep cabinets with plumbing inside (i.e: under sinks) open. It will increase circulation of warmer air to the plumbing behind the cabinets. If you store cleaners and/or chemicals in your cabinets, be sure to move them to a safe location and out of reach of children and pets.
Shut off water valve to exterior water sources:
Turn off the water supply to any exterior faucets and leave them open so residual water is able to drain out before it can freeze in your pipes. Disconnect your outdoor hoses.
Keep garage doors closes:
Especially if your water heater or any water supply lines are in your garage, you need to keep the cold air out and maintain the warmer air. This goes for any space that holds the water heater and/or water supply lines.
Prepare your home for your absence:
If you and your family plan on being away during cold weather, leave the heat running at a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Before leaving for your home for extended periods of time, you should set aside some time to properly prepare your New Jersey home for your absence and prevent home water damage during your vacation.
Frozen Pipes and Mold Growth
If you discover a frozen or ruptured pipe, it needs to addressed as soon as possible. Once a moisture source has been introduced to the environment, mold can start to grow within 24-48 hours, so try to thoroughly dry out the area as soon as possible. If some areas cannot be dried within that time frame, mold growth becomes a very likely possibility. In some cases, mold and the moisture left behind may not be visible to the casual observer. If you are concerned about mold due to delayed or extended drying times, contact a trained professional to properly assess the situation and get to the bottom of any potential problems.
Hidden and unaddressed mold development from a water intrusion event, like a frozen or burst pipe, can mean serious damage and costly repairs. Early detection and immediate response can save you and your family a great deal of stress and avoid more damage. A trained and certified mold inspector in NJ will be able to get to the bottom of how the water has affected that space and identify if a moisture source is still present and contributing to mold development. Through mold testing, your inspector will be able to gather enough information to determine if there is an elevated presence of mold in your home that needs to be addressed through professional mold remediation.