Winter weather took its toll on the majority of the country's residents and homes last winter. How is this winter expected to stack up? Mr. Rooter® consulted the weather experts at the Old Farmer's Almanac to help you protect your family - and your plumbing - from this season's winter chill.
How badly will winter weather wear on you - and your pipes - this season?
CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, VT
This winter is expected to be colder than normal, however snowfall will be below normal. Mid-December to mid-January will be coldest, with the most snow expected in the mid to late months of November, December, and March.
CT, DE, MD, MA, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, D.C.
Colder and slightly wetter, the Atlantic corridor will be coldest from late December to mid-January. Peak snowfall is expected mid to late December, mid-January, and early to mid-February.
MD, NJ, NY, NC, PA, TN, VA, WV
Much colder than normal, but with slightly below normal precipitation and snowfall. The coldest weather is expected mid-December through January, and the snowiest periods are expected mid-December and early February.
GA, NC, SC, VA
A colder and drier than normal winter season, with near to above normal snowfall. Coldest December through January, and snowiest early to mid-January.
IL, IN, MI, NY, OH, PA, WI
Colder than normal, especially late December through early February. Normal to below normal precipitation and above normal snowfall, heaviest December through February.
IL, IN, KY, MO, OH, PA, VA, WV
Much colder than normal, particularly mid-December through January. Below normal precipitation, but above normal snowfall, heaviest mid-November, mid to late December, late January, early February, and early to mid-March.
AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, MO, TN
Much colder than normal temperatures, below normal precipitation, and snowfall that is normal to slightly above normal. Significant snowfall is unlikely in the central and southeast. Coldest late December through January, and snowiest mid-December through early January across the north.
MI, MN, ND, SD, WI
Temperatures, precipitation, and snowfall are all expected to be below normal. Coldest months: late December through mid-February. Snowiest: late November, mid to late December, early to mid-January, mid to late February.
IL, IA, KS, MO, NE, SD, WI
Temperatures, precipitation, and snowfall are all expected to be below normal. Coldest December through mid-January. Highest snowfall mid-December, early February, and March.
NM, OK, TX
Temperatures, precipitation, and snowfall all below normal. Coldest weather expected mid-December through January, with periods of the greatest snowfall occurring mid-December through mid-January.
CO, KS, MT, NE, NM, ND, OK, SD, TX, WY
A colder, drier winter the north. Milder with near-normal precipitation in the south. Coldest late December through mid-January and mid-February through early March. Snowiest early to mid-November, mid to late December, mid-January, and March.
AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, UT, WA, WY
Above normal winter temperatures, with below normal precipitation and snowfall. Coldest late December and mid to late February in the north, mid-December in the south. Snowiest late December in the north and central, early to mid-March in the south.
AZ, CA, CO, NV, NM, TX
Temperatures, precipitation, and snowfall all above normal in the east and below normal in the west. Coldest late December, mid to late January, and mid-February. Snowiest mid-November in the east, mid to late December in the west.
CA, OR, WA
Higher than normal winter temperatures with below normal snowfall, heaviest late December and mid to late January. Precipitation below normal in Washington and Oregon and near normal in northern California.
A warmer winter than normal. Coldest late December and February. Snowiest periods in the mountains early to mid-January and mid to late February. Precipitation above normal in the north, below in the south.
A colder, rainier winter than usual, with the coldest temperatures expected in January.
Frozen pipes - Preventing disasters of Titanic proportions this winter
Though you may not remember it from your grade school science class, water expands as it freezes. According to tests by the Building Research Council at the University of Illinois, 20 degrees F and below puts your pipes in the danger zone. Want to prevent an extreme case of winter depression? Take preventative measures now to protect your pipes before this season's biting cold takes a piece out of your plumbing system, damaging your home and putting you in dire need of flotation devices. Which pipes are most at risk? Exposed pipes in unheated areas, pipes in exterior walls, and plumbing located outside your home, such as:
- Garden hoses
Water that freezes in your hose can actually expand and increase pressure throughout your plumbing system, bursting pipes. Disconnect, drain, and store your hose before hard freezes set in. Install frost-proof spigots and faucet insulators, otherwise close the shutoff valve to the faucet, then open and drain the spigot.
- Attic, crawl space, and garage plumbing pipes
For moderately cold climates, foam or fiberglass pipe insulation should do the trick. In severe climates, wrap with thermostatically controlled heat tape which will turn on at specific minimum temperatures.
- Pipes in under-insulated or outside walls
Pipes in walls that have frozen in the past may require additional insulation or at worst, re-routing the pipe in severely icy climates.
Snowbirds? If you're flying south for the winter - or even away on vacation - set your furnace no lower than 55. To avoid unexpected surprises when you return, shut off and drain your plumbing system, opening faucets and flushing toilets to clear the pipes. In severe climates, drain the hot water heater and consider adding a nontoxic antifreeze in traps and drains, as well as having your home inspected by a professional plumber.
Is your region experiencing below-normal winter temperatures? Keep in mind that although your home may be insulated for your climate's needs, a winter that is colder than normal could render current insulation methods insufficient to protect your pipes. Let her drip! Opening a faucet and letting it drip can help prevent freezing, as well as relieve pressure caused by frozen pipes. No pressure, no burst pipe. A very slight drip is all you need (dripping wastes water). Remember to provide a "drop" of relief for both hot and cold lines. And keep in mind water may still freeze in pipes despite your efforts. Don't be so cold.
Call a warm and friendly Mr. Rooter plumber today. We've got all the toasty tools you need to cozy up the pipes in your home before things get glacial. Give us a call today!