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Advice for homeowners during the arctic blast

Jan 5, 2018

Credit freeimages.com/Lyris Godoy

The bitter cold weather in recent days could be causing headaches for homeowners.

Broken heating systems and frozen pipes are among the chief concerns, says Rick Herman, president of the Rochester Home Builders' Association.  He says some local heating contractors have been working around the clock to make sure people are warm.

As far as plumbing is concerned, "The first thing is, if (pipes) are not yet frozen and you're concerned about it, let water drip,” Herman said. “Have a steady flow so water goes through those pipes."       

If pipes are already frozen, he recommends trying to warm them by opening cupboard doors. But Herman cautions homeowners against using heaters to thaw pipes. If they appear to be frozen solid, he said it’s best to contact a professional plumber.

Another safety concern involves outdoor vents for the furnace and hot water heater.

"A lot of newer homes, especially, have vents coming out of the side,” noted Herman. “With the blowing that we've had the past few days, snow builds up there and backs those vents up and then can create carbon monoxide, so that's something homeowners want to check on."

A period of warmer weather can bring another set of worries. With temperatures expected to be in the mid-thirties next week, there could be a problem with ice damming if it quickly falls below freezing again.