As below freezing temperatures are expected in some parts of the lowcountry starting tomorrow, we want to give you the following tips on protecting your home during this cold spell and any following freezes.
Drip your faucets: According to The Weather Channel, ”letting a faucet drip during extreme cold weather can prevent a pipe from bursting. It's not that a small flow of water prevents freezing; this helps, but water can freeze even with a slow flow. Rather, opening a faucet will provide relief from the excessive pressure that builds between the faucet and the ice blockage when freezing occurs. If there is no excessive water pressure, there is no burst pipe, even if the water inside the pipe freezes.
A dripping faucet wastes some water, so only pipes vulnerable to freezing (ones that run through an unheated or unprotected space) should be left with the water flowing. The drip can be very slight. Even the slowest drip at normal pressure will provide pressure relief when needed. Where both hot and cold lines serve a spigot, make sure each one contributes to the drip, since both are subjected to freezing. If the dripping stops, leave the faucet(s) open, since a pipe may have frozen and will still need pressure relief.”
Outdoor spigots: Outdoor spigots and backflow preventers (that arch of pipes in your yard) need to be covered to protect them from the wind. If you also have a water hose connected to an outdoor spigot, you should disconnect the hose.
Help keep pipes warm under cabinets: if any of your vanities back up to an exterior wall, open the doors to the vanity cabinet to allow warm air access to the pipes.
Fireplace Drafts: Make sure to close your fireplace flue when the fireplace is not in use.
Windows and Doors: Make sure all windows and doors, including storm doors, are closed tightly.
Heat Pumps: Aside from changing your filters regularly, there is nothing specific you need to do to prepare your heat pump to produce heat. However, it is worth mentioning that a heat pump is not the same as a furnace. A furnace uses a flame and blows hot air from the vent. A heat pump heats the air as it passes over a coil, and will blow warm air from the vent, but the air coming out of the heat pump may not feel hot. In the course of an hour, you will generally see a temperature change of 2-3 degrees max. Best practice is to keep your heat on and set where you would like it to be maintained and do not fret if the air blowing out of your vents does not feel particularly hot. If your thermostat is set at 68 and the house is staying within two degrees of 68, the heat pump is working correctly. Heat pumps are not designed to run in below freezing conditions for long, so if the temperature drops below freezing, the heat pump may struggle to maintain your ideal temperature. For optimal operation, keep your windows and doors sealed as well as possible (see above), make sure your filters are clean, and do not turn off your heat during the day.
We want to remind you that it is extremely important to prepare your home, including dripping your faucets, during any freezing spells. Unfortunately, if proper precautions are not taken, any damages resulting from frozen pipes will be your responsibility, and that is something we would like to avoid. If you are going to be out of town during a cold spell, you can call us and give us authorization to enter your home to drip the faucets on your behalf. We will be happy to assist you.
Power outages are expected with the predicted potential ice amounts, so please be prepared. Power outages should be reported to Dominion Energy at 1-866-DOM-HELP.
Weather updates from NWS Charleston
General Information about Emergencies can be found at Charleston County Emergency Management - They have a page specifically devoted to winter storms here
Dominion Energy’s website-, they have a page for reporting power outages and emergencies here
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division provides a ton of information on their site, including news releases and preparation guides.
Ready is another site specifically devoted to educating and preparing people for disasters.
Thank you for your help and continued care for your property. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call our office at 843-795-4461 or email us at admin@SloaneTeamRealty.com.