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Old 11-27-2007, 07:11 AM
 
234 posts, read 798,443 times
Reputation: 116
Default Will my pipes freeze?

Morning all - I posted this in another forum, and thought I would post it here too.

This summer we bought a small vacation home in South Carolina, near Greenville in the upper Northwest corner. It does get cold, and it has gotten down to 32 degrees on a couple of nights - but always warming up to the 50's during the day.

My questions is do I have to worry about my water pipes/toilet/waste pipes/water heater freezing. I do have the water main shut off, and the heat is shut off as well.

I would guess that the temps would have to stay below zero for a few days before solid freezing and damage would occur.

I really don't want to turn on the heat if I don't have to. The neighbor checked on the house on one of the really cold morning and said that it was 52 in the house - so that sounds ok.

Anyways - anyone have any thoughts/experience on this.

thanks
Leggo
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:13 AM
 
Location: Chattanooga TN
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Someone correct me if I am wrong, but after you shut off the main supply did you run the water out of your pipes? I think this will do the trick.
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Old 11-27-2007, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Waupun, Wisconsin
323 posts, read 1,359,246 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leggo View Post
My questions is do I have to worry about my water pipes/toilet/waste pipes/water heater freezing. I do have the water main shut off, and the heat is shut off as well.

I would guess that the temps would have to stay below zero for a few days before solid freezing and damage would occur.
Sorry, it doesn't quite work that way. We had pipes freeze in the first place that we lived in in Tacoma and it has gotten below zero there since they started keeping records. Note that we even had the heat on OTOH it was a bit of a bad setup - the crawlspace (how I hate crawlspaces!) was vented but without ready means to close off the vents and we had a couple of days where it stayed below 20 degrees with a wind.

If you've shut the water off at the main valve and drained your pipes you shouldn't have a problem but you definitely do not need sub-zero temps to suffer frozen/burst pipes.
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Old 11-27-2007, 10:47 AM
 
781 posts, read 2,680,581 times
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You might want to wrap any exposed water facuets.....(ie:the ones you hook a hose to). We simply take a old rag and wrap it around the faucet head and put a plastic bag around it to keep it dry. There are also covers you can buy from the hardware store.
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Old 11-27-2007, 10:50 AM
 
Location: AmCit in Philippines
351 posts, read 1,253,685 times
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My dad is doing this in a house. We were told that if you turn off the water, drain the pipes and keep the heat at 50 (if you've got ambiant heat above that without having the heat on, it seems that that should suffice).
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Old 11-27-2007, 11:02 AM
 
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If the temperature drops below 32 degrees for an hour or so, there is danger of exposed pipes freezing. Rather, it's the WATER in the pipes that freezes and expands bursting the pipe. So if the pipes are drained, there's nothing there to freeze.
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Old 11-27-2007, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Chattanooga TN
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Exactly! ...................
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Old 11-27-2007, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,321 posts, read 18,891,088 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leggo View Post
Morning all - I posted this in another forum, and thought I would post it here too.

This summer we bought a small vacation home in South Carolina, near Greenville in the upper Northwest corner. It does get cold, and it has gotten down to 32 degrees on a couple of nights - but always warming up to the 50's during the day.

My questions is do I have to worry about my water pipes/toilet/waste pipes/water heater freezing. I do have the water main shut off, and the heat is shut off as well.

I would guess that the temps would have to stay below zero for a few days before solid freezing and damage would occur.

I really don't want to turn on the heat if I don't have to. The neighbor checked on the house on one of the really cold morning and said that it was 52 in the house - so that sounds ok.

Anyways - anyone have any thoughts/experience on this.

thanks
Leggo
In theory you have nothing to worry about. But if you turn the water main off- drain the lines as suggested (leave fausets open- this allows air to get out and water to expand if frozen without damaging pipes). There are other preventive measures you can take depending on what type of construction the house is. As mentioned before; crawl spaces, require certain steps, vs. slab foundation, and/or basement.
Plan for worst-case-scenario, and you should be fine.
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Old 11-27-2007, 01:20 PM
 
234 posts, read 798,443 times
Reputation: 116
Thanks everyone for your advice.

Some more information --- I have a crawlspace and I have closed off the foundation vents.

I did NOT drain the pipes - I don't even know if there are bleeder screws in the water service pipes under the house in the crawlspace. I was hoping to not bleed the water as my relatives will use the house during the winter and it would be a pain for them to re-bleed when they leave.

I will have the neighbor open the faucet to allow air to go back down the line to allow expansion.

I will put those covers on the outside faucets --- they are sitting in the garage.

K'ledgeBldr - your wrote "There are other preventive measures you can take depending on what type of construction the house is. As mentioned before; crawl spaces, require certain steps, vs. slab foundation, and/or basement. "

What other measures can you recommend.

But it sounds like it should be fine.

thanks
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:45 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,321 posts, read 18,891,088 times
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Well, since you clarifed it a crawl space. Closing the vents is a good start. Insulating any supply lines that are below the floor insulation. Use the foam type that warps around the lines. Also, does the crawl space have a vapor barrier (6-8mil poly covering the "floor" area)? If not, I strongly recommend this be done. If excesssive amounts of moisture are coming from the earth and getting "trapped" in the crawl space- that moisture could freeze and create structural problems down the road and rot. When draining lines use the lowest point of a water source (usually A hose bib outside- its not absolutely critical that the lines be completely empty- no need to crawl under the house)- open it along with all the indoor fausets and leave it alone. The only other thing that you can do (and this is for extended below freezing conditions) if there is no heat on- is put antifreeze in all sinks and toilets (plumbing fixtures that have traps). As I stated before- plan for worst case scenario! It's always better to over do it, than do nothing at all.
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