Don’t let this happen to you. You’ve buttoned up your summer vacation rental home for the season – or so you thought – only to get a phone call from a neighbor saying that he noticed water coming from under your front door! When frozen pipes thaw, flooding can result and cause extensive structural damage and mold problems.
For three-season homes
If you close up your rental home completely every winter, you’ll need to have your pipes drained in order to prevent them from breaking when they freeze. It’s probably best to have this done by your plumber.
For year-round homes
Even if you keep your home open throughout the year, though, be sure to drain your outside shower and all outside spigots. Keep your thermostat at a minimum of 55º when you’re not there. Check to be sure the pipes are properly insulated, particularly in the crawl spaces near outside walls (i.e., under the kitchen sink or behind the washing machine). For added protection, ask your plumber to wrap pipes with heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables. One more tip – open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to pipes under sinks that are near exterior walls.
In case of power loss
Power outages are fairly common on the Cape and Islands, so take measures to protect your home, especially if your heat is dependent on electricity. We’ve enrolled in a monitoring program with our fuel company in Orleans. They installed a heat sensor, which detects a temperature drop and alerts the company, who can take immediate action.
As an extra precaution, you might hire a caretaker or home watch service to regularly check on your home, especially during cold spells. We have some listed in our Service Provider directory.
An ounce of prevention, as they say…
Please share how you have deterred or dealt with the calamity of frozen pipes in your vacation rental.
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