As winter progresses and temperatures begin to plummet, the prospect of water pipes freezing becomes a real concern for those who live in colder climates. Fortunately, modern technology can help assuage those worries and provides a way for you to prevent frozen water pipes with your security system.
Forewarned is Forearmed – Security System Alerts
A security system can’t stop mother nature from creating arctic cold conditions…but, technology can keep you informed if your pipes are in danger of freezing. The addition of low temperature sensors in the most susceptible areas for frozen water pipes can prevent catastrophe by alerting you to a potential problem BEFORE pipes freeze and give you a chance to prevent them for freezing or minimize damages and begin thawing frozen pipes before the pipes crack, burst and create major damage in your home.
Many companies such as Protect America, Link Interactive Security, LiveWatch, Frontpoint and Skycover offer low temperature sensors that will monitor the temperature of the home and send a notification alert via an interactive app to alert you when the temperature drops below say 45 degrees. This will also alert the monitoring center of the problem so that they can take steps to notify you and anyone on your contact list, if you are unavailable.
Disaster Sensor Protects Against Freezing Pipes, Overheating and Flooding
Most home security companies even offer a 3-Way ‘disaster sensor’ That senses both high and low temperatures and includes a water sensor as well-to detect any flooding and/or dripping or burst pipes….and even air conditioning failures. This triple threat sensor can be placed in areas that are vulnerable to cold and plumbing leaks…in an unheated basement, washroom, or other vulnerable areas where pipes and plumbing may be partially exposed to the element- garages, under kitchen cabinets on uninsulated exterior walls.
Tips to Prevent Freezing Pipes
- In extreme weather, turn on a faucet farthest from where the water service comes into the home so that only a trickle comes out. Keeping the water moving helps to prevent pipes from freezing…and gives the water room to expand without bursting the pipes if it does begin to freeze.
- Open the cabinet doors in the bathroom, washroom and kitchen to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing-especially in rooms that re on exterior walls.
- In extreme temperatures, increase the temperature a bit at night. This might increase the heating bill a bit….but, will minimize the risks of much costlier plumbing and repair bills that would result from frozen pipes.
- Protect pipes with insulation sleeves that are located along outside walls, unheated areas, crawl spaces or in the garage. Make sure to keep the garage door closed.
- Make sure that exterior hoses have been drained and stored and that inside valves servicing the exterior faucets are shut off. Exterior faucets should be open to allow them to drain and for any water to expand.
- Don’t shut off the heat when you are away from the home. Set the thermostat to at least 50 degrees if you are going to be away for an extended period.
Defrosting Frozen Pipes
Ok…so you decided to hold off on the low temperature sensor or the disaster sensor….and you woke up this morning and have barely a trickle to shave with…now what?
To thaw or defrost frozen pipes, you must first identify the location where the pipes are frozen. This is most likely the service area where the water comes into the home or susceptible areas that run along uninsulated exterior walls. Keep the faucet open and allow water to drip while you attempt to identify the most vulnerable areas.
Apply heat…using a hair dryer, space heaters, towels soaked in hot water or wrapping a heating pad around the pipe.
DO NOT use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or any sort of open flame. This could potentially result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
Keep applying heat until full water pressure is restored, and check the other faucets in the home to make sure that all frozen pipes have been thawed. If you are unsuccessful in defrosting the frozen pipes or they are not readily accessible…it’s time to call a licensed plumber.
Final Thoughts on Frozen Pipes
Unattended, frozen pipes can be more than an inconvenience. When water freezes it expands-which can lead to burst pipes and devastating water and ice damage. Even if you follow all the proactive steps to prevent your pipes from freezing- a furnace failure can have catastrophic consequences in extreme weather.
Your home security system can do more than just prevent break ins. By investing in environmental sensors that detect low temperatures and flooding- you can protect your home from the devastating effects of frozen pipes and water damage.
To find out more…check out our Top Alarm Companies.
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