How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
When temperatures drop and pipes freeze, the result can be disastrous. A 1/8th inch crack in a pipe can leak up to 250 gallons of water a day, which can result in flooding, major structural damage to your home, and leave you at a huge risk for mold. According to State Farm, the average cost of a claim for broken pipes due to freezing is $15,000. Pipes that burst when no one is home, causing the basement and other areas of the home to flood, are much more devastating, with severe water damage and costs rising as high as $70,000.
Traditionally, people try and prevent pipes from freezing by leaving cabinets open and letting the water run at a slow trickle. Neither of these methods are foolproof or ideal.
Leaving the cabinets open is fine in some homes, but for parents of small children (like myself), it poses a huge risk. Under our kitchen cabinets are many cleaners and other hazardous substances that we would not want our kids to get into. Leaving the cabinets open is a welcome invitation for small children to get in there and examine things that they should not be touching. This poses a huge risk to their health.
Leaving the water running can be a costly ordeal, and often is not even necessary. A quick check of the USGS Water calculator shows that 2 faucets left running at a trickle will waste 22 gallons of water a day or more. That can definitely add up on your water bill after a couple weeks of cold weather.
The ConnectSense wireless temperature sensor is a better solution for preventing frozen pipes in your home. Our wireless temperature sensor can monitor the temperature of your pipes and alert you only when the temperature gets low enough that you need to take action, so you don't have to waste water and leave cabinets open unnecessarily.
I set up my own wireless temperature sensor in my home a few weeks ago as the temperature started to drop into the teens on a regular basis. My sink in the kitchen is a spot that I am always particularly concerned about since it is right on an outside wall. If underneath your sink is anything like mine, there are no open power sockets to plug into, so ConnectSense's long lasting battery power works perfectly for this application. I set my sensor recording interval to every hour, as I felt that would be satisfactory for catching any drops in temperature. If you are concerned about rapidly dropping temperatures, you can set it to record the temperature even more regularly, but note that it will drain the batteries in the unit faster.
I then setup my rules in the ConnectSense cloud application for my wireless temperature sensor.
First I created a rule to send a text message to both me and my wife if the temperature drops below 40°. Should it get that low, we would take some of the traditional precautions of running the water, wrapping the pipes, or opening the cabinets. The nice part about having this alert, though, is that none of those methods are necessary until the temperature actually gets to that point. This allows us to save money by not running the water and not have the hassle of having the cabinets open.
The second rule I created for the more urgent scenario is a rule that would result in a phone call to me sand my wife should the temperature below the sink drop below 35°. This would be close to freezing temperatures, and immediate action would be needed. Having the phone call option for notification is also particularly important because a text message would likely not wake either of us while sleeping, while a phone call would.
For added protection, I also installed a ConnectSense water sensor under my sink. In the event of an incident, I can receive a phone call so we can deal with the water before it becomes a huge problem.
After a few days of having the wireless temperature sensor installed under my sink, I can attest that it definitely gave me the piece of mind to not worry about having my pipes burst while I am at work or away from the house. Checking the data, I saw that even when it was around 0° outside, I could easily monitor the temperature under our sink and make sure our our pipes—and our home—were not in danger. I will continue to monitor it through these next couple days of record lows and make sure that my home stays safe, and I don't have to deal with the nightmare of having a pipe burst in the dead of winter.