When winter rears its ugly head and temperatures drop to the point where frozen pipes are a possibility, there are things that can help prevent the nightmare of frozen pipes.
At Nashoba Air & BoilerWorks, we often are called to deal with frozen heating pipes for hot water boilers … pipes that are commonly hidden in between the interior and exterior walls of a home’s construction. These heating pipes are most vulnerable to freeze-ups. Other areas of concern are rooms over a garage or any heating loops that are located near a sliding glass door. These areas offer the easiest and least amount of resistance to the cold outdoor temperatures from entering your home.
One of the ways to protect your heating pipes and boiler from freeze-ups is to add glycol (anti-freeze) to the heating system. Boilers should have a 40-50% mixture (water and glycol) depending on the brand used. This should be done by a trained professional that has the proper tools. It is extremely important, however, to remember to test the freeze protection of the glycol every year and to also make sure the glycol hasn’t become acidic. It may be necessary to empty the glycol from the heating system and to replace it every three years.
If you take extended vacations during the winter months a device called an Axiom feeder, installed onto the boiler can provide protection. It works by only allowing five gallons of water to be fed into the heating system before it kills power to the boiler. This allows the homeowner to identify a freeze-up within a few hours, resulting in the least amount of water damage to the home.
A simple way to help prevent heating pipes from freezing is to keep your thermostats set at one temperature for 24 hours when temperatures dip to single digits, rather than programming the thermostat to different temperatures during the day and night. This keeps the water circulating and makes it less likely for the system to freeze.
If you do experience frozen pipes, Nashoba Air & BoilerWorks has a state-of-the-art pipe thawing machine that can be hooked up to any metallic pipe and thaw it out within an hour or two.