3 Tips to Avoid Burst Pipes This Winter

3 tips

Winter cold weather and sub-zero temperatures are here, as well as many of the problems that go hand-in-hand with extreme cold, including burst pipes.

Josh Colwell is the project manager at Octagon Cleaning & Restoration’s New Hampshire office, and a certified Water Damage Restoration Technician (WRT). Josh has worked in the cleaning and restoration industry for several years and has seen a lot of homes negatively impacted by the effects of water damage. We asked Josh to share some tips for homeowners on how to prevent burst pipes this winter.

  1. Make it a point to occasionally check on your pipes. While pipes are not something many homeowners give much thought to since they tend to be “out of sight, out of mind,” you will definitely want to monitor them for any issues. Insulate pipes if possible in particularly cold parts of your home, such as the basement.
  2. Keep your house heated, even if you are going to be out of town. While it may be tempting to save money on energy costs by shutting the heat off when you are on vacation, you may return to a home flooded with water if you do.
  3. Keep water moving through your pipes if you are going to be gone for a prolonged period of time. Stagnant water freezes, so Josh recommends turning faucets on so there is a just a little bit of dripping water coming out. By doing so, you keep water flowing in the pipe, which makes it harder to freeze.

If you do come home to a burst pipe, Josh recommends acting fast. “Shut off the water main and call Octagon.” When asked what could happen if a homeowner tries to mitigate the water damage themselves, he answered, “There is a huge potential for mold as homeowners probably aren’t going to dry a home out properly. Oftentimes if they have a vinyl floor they might think they can just use fans and a shop vac and it will be fine, when in fact water can stay trapped under the floor. It only takes 48-72 hours for mold to develop, so you want to act fast by calling water damage professionals to take care of your home if there are any kind of water issues.”

In addition for tips on preventing burst pipes, we also asked Josh about what drew him to the world of water damage repair and mitigation. “I really like the science behind drying things out,” he said. “It’s not a regular job where you do the same thing over and over, each time I have to figure out how to do a dry down and get a home back to pre-loss conditions. It’s a challenge for me get to arrive on site and take a look at a room or rooms and try to figure out, ‘OK, for this to dry down I need to set up fans here and a dehumidifier here.’ It’s also exciting to see how happy people are after we’ve finished. Even a small water loss is a huge deal for a homeowner, and we are able to help them get their home back to normal.”

If you live in New Hampshire and are experiencing water damage issues, such as burst pipes, a broken refrigerator line or a leaking dishwasher, call Josh Colwell or another helpful member of the Octagon Cleaning & Restoration team at 603- 239-2100. Live in Maine? Give us a call at 207-893-0002.