Freezing pipes are a problem many Alaskans try and avoid. This year, however, the weather is not working in their favor. Typically the snow provides great insulation for the ground and around the house. The average snowfall for September and October is 11 inches, this year we've gotten five inches and only one inch has stuck around.
Circle Plumbing and Heating service manager Mark Wondzell said so far this year they haven’t run into any frozen pipes, but it is early in the season. Wondzell said each year he sees over two dozen frozen pipe situations.
“We’ve had years in the past when there's been not much snowfall," said Wondzell, "Especially earlier in the year and the frost just goes way down and freezes those pipes."
Wondzell said while there’s not much you can do about that, you can protect the pipes inside your house. One place to start is under the kitchen sink.
"This wall back here [behind the pipes] is an exterior wall and a lot of times it'll be 20 degrees [or] 30 degrees colder than the rest of your house,” said Wondzell, “So one thing you can do is keep the cupboard doors open that'll keep the [area warm] and let more air in there.”
While not everyone knows that trick there is a more commonly known way to prevent freezing pipes.
Leaving a slight drip going will keep water in your pipes from freezing. Preventing freezing in hot water baseboard heaters is also a concern.
“Again the cold can come through the exterior wall and freeze the lines. There's a copper tube that's inside [there] that's radiating [it] and it can freeze and split and you may not know it until water is spraying out," said Wondzell.
He said two indicators to watch for are your house is getting colder or if you can't hear the heater running, which often makes a ticking noise.
A trick to avoid that from happening is by adding glycol anti-freeze in your pipes.
So while some may be enjoying the lack of snow, remember to protect those pipes.
Contact Mallory Peebles