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Cold Weather Tips for You and Your Home

Frozen Pipe Splashed with Hot Water

With the temperatures in the Metro Washington, DC and Northern Virginia areas expected to drop to the single digits this evening and in the teens all day tomorrow many homes will be susceptible to issues in their homes due to the extreme cold weather. Here are some home heating and plumbing tips to follow to help us all get through this extreme cold front.

Cold Home Plumbing Tips:

  • Keep the house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 65 degrees will not keep the inside walls from freezing.
  • Identify the location for the main water shutoff in your home. Find out how it works in case you have to use it.
  • Open hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. Keeping water moving within the pipes will prevent freezing.
  • If you haven't already, make sure all hoses are disconnected from outside spigots.
  • If you discover that pipes are frozen, don't wait for them to burst. Take measures to safely thaw them immediately, or call a plumber for assistance.
  • If your pipes burst, first turn off the water and then mop up spills. You don't want the water to do more damage than it already has.
  • Make temporary repairs and take other steps to protect your property from further damage. Remove any carpet or furniture that can be further damaged from seepage.

Cold Home Heating Tips:

  • Below 35F degrees it is normal to see some frost on an outdoor HP unit.
  • Frost is keyword though. Heavy amounts of ice is different.
  • We DO NOT recommend trying to de-ice with mechanical tools.
  • De-ice with hot water (not very effective when it's cold though).
  • De-ice naturally. Shut HP unit OFF, and go into EM HEAT at thermostat.
  • We recommend using EM HEAT temporarily (aka: Emergency Heat), or until weather temperatures are back above 40F.
  • Dirty Filters, dirty coils, low refrigerant (Puron or Freon), bad fan motors; can all be causes for HP's not to work properly.
  • When snowing and/or freezing rain it is highly likely a HP unit will freeze. Definitely recommend EM Heat in those situations.

Following these tips can keep you and your family comfortable and safe during this artic blast of cold air on its way as well as save you on potentially expensive repairs and service.