As you head out the door this holiday season to visit family and friends for an extended period of time, there is one crucial mistake that you must not make. Do not turn off the furnace. Many homeowners are looking for any way to save money, and you may assume that since no one will be home to need the comfort of the furnace, it won’t matter if it is shut down for a few days. However, you would be wrong! Leaving the furnace off during winter puts your home at serious risk for water damage, but it can be prevented!
How Your Pipes Will Freeze
When the furnace is turned off completely, the home has no protection against the elements. All you need is one extra chilly night to surround your home and suddenly you will have frozen pipes around the house. Within hours the temperature will begin to warm as the sun rises and those pipes will begin to thaw. The ice will have expanded the pipe and could have caused cracks that compromised the integrity of the pipe. As it thaws, water will begin to force its way through and the pressure may cause the pipe to burst!
Water Damage is Not a Cheap Fix
This will leave water flowing into your walls or floors and will cause serious water damage to the home. The cost of drying out the home, preventing mold growth, and replacing all of the damaged materials will set you back hundreds and maybe even thousands of dollars. The whole point of shutting off the furnace was to save money, but in this case you will be spending way more than you would have saved.
Better Ways to Save Energy
The better way to save money on energy costs would be to set the thermostat back to 55 degrees while you are gone. At this temperature the furnace will only kick on when absolutely necessary and it will protect your home from the potential damage that would be caused by frozen pipes. As an added layer of protection, you could also wrap the pipes that are most vulnerable. Wrap the pipes under kitchen sinks and in the ceiling of basements, and if you would like to have your home assessed for trouble areas, you could always have a plumber handle this job all together. Either way you need to keep your home protected from the hazards of frozen pipes.