Monday, December 28, 2009

What to do when it hits ZERO!

From Tom D'Agostino
Plumbing – when it starts to get below 20°F, begin the preventative practice of opening your bathroom vanity cabinet doors so the heat in the room can transfer to the area where your pipes are located. This is a very simple procedure and it can help your pipes from freezing, unless there is a gap in your outdoor siding where the cold air can blow directly on your pipes.

One very important thing to know is that even if you have not experienced frozen pipes, be aware that they will freeze when no water is moving or circulating. If you have experienced frozen pipes at a particular plumbing fixture, such as your toilet or the bathroom lavatory, you should turn on the hot and cold water in the lavatory so that there is a small stream of water coming from the faucet. Make sure that you have the water mixed by turning on the hot and cold water so that it comes through in an equally mixed small stream. It may cost you a few dollars on your water bill, but this simple step can also help save you a large sum in repair bills for frozen and broken pipes. This should be done only on the coldest days and nights to conserve water. Raising the water level in your toilet tank during the frigid weather can also help so that it barely goes over the top of the overflow tube in the tank.

Heating - Saving money on your heating bills is not only good for the environment, but also gives you a break in high energy costs. There has been a lot of discussion about making your home almost airtight to keep the heat or cooling in to save money. Believe it or not, this approach can actually be dangerous to your health. The reason is that there is naturally occurring CO (carbon monoxide) in our home. It comes from many sources including the gas cook top or oven, even though the amounts can be small. If we tighten up our homes to the extreme, we eliminate the infiltration of fresh air and that can result in more CO retention in our homes.

When the temperature dips below zero and you are confident that you have sealed up all of the windows and doors as much as possible, also remember that there may be cracks in the siding next to your hot and cold water pipes still exposed. The home generates heat (or to say it in another way, it the cold chases the heat in your home). To prevent a catastrophe such as frozen and broken plumbing, you may not want to turn down your thermostat, but do turn it up just a couple of degrees. The coldest days and nights will test the tightness of your home and the ability of your furnace to heat all corners of your home. So just keeping the thermostat at 70 degrees during the coldest times may prevent a plumbing catastrophe.

Take a few moments to go around your home to try to locate cold spots. Sometimes a little space heater will help to warm up a cold corner. There are some very safe models out there, but do take caution when choosing a heater. One good tip sheet to read is this one from the Underwriters Safety Laboratory:
Keeping the temperatures a little warmer than usual, and following the plumbing procedures listed above can help save you from costly service calls for frozen and broken pipes. In the event that you do have frozen and broken pipes, please call Tom at 303-952-8668 or 303-800-3781 at Kimmel. We answer the phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our number is 303-952-8668.

Pete Doty has been a Full Time Licensed Colorado real estate broker since 1985. "I go to work everyday for you & your friends, learning about our home town! It could be Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Littleton, Castle Rock, Centennial, Englewood, Parker, Elizabeth, Larkspur, Franktown, Kiowa, or anywhere in metro Denver Colorado." Talk to me for real estate advice, properties for sale, multiple listing service, all available at Drop me a note to

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