About frozen pipes

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Old 12-05-03, 11:58 AM
I
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About frozen pipes

Hi everyone,

I'm soon be closing on a house up here in the freezing northeast. I am concerned that the current owners will not keep the house minimally warm until then (even though we have explicitly written this into the contract), so I will be on the lookout for frozen/burst pipes and related damage during the presettlement walkthrough.

Aside from seeing a ruptured pipe or a lake of water in the basement, are there any other signs that might indicate that recent damage from frozen pipes has taken place? Any suggestions for things to look for during the walkthrough?

Secondly, if the house will be unoccupied for a week, it is better to leave the heat on at a low temp to prevent frozen pipes, or drain the water from the pipes and temporarily shut off the water supply to the house? If so, how is that done?

Thanks for your help!
 
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Old 12-05-03, 12:20 PM
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Cool

If it's only going to be vacant for a week, leave the heat on at least 55 degrees. MUCH easier. Go ahead and transfer the utilities, if necessary, before closing.
Otherwise, you have to winterize the whole house just for a week. Here's how, if you ever have to: (a) turn off the water at the meter, (b) turn off the power to the water heater, (c) open all faucets and spigots (especially the highest faucets in the house for air and the lowest spigot for draining), and (d) pour anti-freeze in all toilets and traps.
When doing a walk-through, look for new water damage anywhere, make sure everything is in good working order by turning it on and off, check the hot water, heating-and-air system, and look for damage to woodwork, doors and floors (torn carpet, vinyl, broken tiles, scratched wood, etc.) from the seller moving furniture or appliances out.
Good Luck!
 
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Old 12-05-03, 04:04 PM
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Irishguy:

I agree with Mike's advice to leave the house heated.

I'll add that if you do try to winterize the pipes, keep in mind that all the supply lines would not likely be set up with a slope to be self draining. If you happen to get a hard freeze, some sections of pipe will have water in them and would most likely break.

You would have to blow out the supply lines and put anti-freeze in them to guarantee no damage.
 
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Old 12-05-03, 04:56 PM
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Cool

I agree with Greg.
You can "air blow" out your supply lines and your drain lines to truly "winterize", but never put anti-freeze in your supply lines (it's HIGHLY poisonous), just your drain lines, which is what Greg meant.
Mike
 
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Old 12-05-03, 05:31 PM
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Red face Thanks Mike!

I neglected to mention that the anti-freeze I was refering to is plumbing anti-freeze that is non-toxic and specifically designed for potable water lines.
The use of auto type anti-freeze could make someone seriously ill.

I often winterize small buildings and pieces of equipment and have found that in some cases even blowing the lines with air won't guarantee something won't freeze.
An example is a long verticle rise of 3/4" pipe or better, where after the water seems to be gone and only air is leaving the pipe, water clinging to the pipe is enough to fill an elbow at the bottom of the rise.
I have found that if someone is paying me to do this for them I can't have any freezing damage and plumber's anti-freeze will guarantee it won't.

Thanks again Mike.
 
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