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Frozen Pipes and Furnace Problems from Below Normal Temps - Boston, Worcester, MA

12 Feb 2014

Extremely low temperatures have become the norm creating a long busy winter season for plumbing companies because of frozen pipes and malfunctioning furnaces.

More and more homeowners are experiencing problems with flooding, frozen pipes and even frozen drain lines that started just before Christmas. More and more homeowners are contending with malfunctioning furnaces and frozen pipes in this latest round of below-normal temperatures.

To prevent frozen pipes, homeowners should be aware of the obvious causes like cracks in the walls or broken windows. Another cause of frozen pipes that most homeowners don’t think about is the cold air coming in through the dryer vents.

If you don't have a damper on your dryer vent, the wind will blow right in there. A lot of time you see dryer vents that are right near water pipes. The cold air will follow the vent right in and freeze the pipe.

Some homeowners attempt to address problems with frozen pipes themselves. Oftentimes this can be a recipe for disaster, since the average person does not have the proper equipment or training to deal with these plumbing issues.

Here are a few important suggestions for homeowners while they are waiting for professional plumbers to arrive. Locate your main water shutoff and turn it off after the pipe has frozen and before a pipe bursts in order to prevent flooding. Additionally, rather than using an open flame, which can lead to insulation igniting, Apply heat from an electric hair dryer or a hot rag on the frozen pipes.

Preventive measures are also good to keep in mind. The ideal temperature to keep the thermostat varies depending on the age of the home. If you have an older home you'll want to keep it a little warmer, newer homes are better insulated and don't seem to have as many problems. If you have a crawl space in your house you probably want to keep it at least 65 or 70 degrees.

Before the next winter season, wrap heat tape around your piping system to keep the heat around the pipes before they freeze or using foam pipe or regular pipe insulation. Another simple fix is to leave a faucet running a bit to keep water moving through your piping system since generally moving water does not freeze.

If you pipes have frozen, contact Greater Boston Heating and Plumbing.