|Frozen pipes can cause a lot of problems in winter, from snapping pipes and broken water mains to flooding. The Philadelphia City Council found that out the hard way earlier this week when a pipe burst in City Hall, causing water damage to the council chambers five floors below. The City Council will temporarily be housed in a courtroom on a different floor while the damage is assessed.
The council members’ desks appear to be undamaged, but the carpeting in the council chambers was completely soaked and may have to be replaced. Public property commissioner Bridget Collins-Greenwald told CBS Philly that the full extent of the damage is currently unknown, but fortunately, does not appear to be excessive. The current damage from the frozen pipe is far less severe than similar damage from an air conditioner leak in 2002, which required a year-long renovation costing upwards of $2 million.
There are many preventative measures homeowners and business owners can take to prevent the freezing of pipes during inclement weather. Kitchen and bathroom cabinets should be opened to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes, though any chemicals currently stored in the cabinets may need to be relocated to be out of the reach of children and pets.
Leaving thermostats set to consistent temperature throughout the entire day and night can prevent the drastic temperature changes that lead to frozen pipes. The thermostat should be set at 55 degrees minimum, though you may wish to increase temperature for comfort. Lastly, you can leave your faucets running at a trickle. The movement of the water, no matter how slow, will prevent the pipes freezing.
This winter, be sure to keep an eye on your water pipes. The increase in heating bills from having a consistent temperature in your home will be nothing compared to the costs of repairs needed should a pipe burst. Following these simple steps should keep your home from ending up like the Philadelphia City Hall.