Worried about frozen pipes? Here’s how to keep them from freezing

Everyone who lives in Buffalo and Western New York knows how brutal the winter weather can be. Massive lake-effect snowstorms, below-freezing temperatures, and never-ending wind are just some of the facts of life here for part of the year. These cold conditions are just one of the reasons that many Buffalo homes, apartments, and condos experience frozen and burst pipes during the winter. All over the city, pipes freeze on the coldest nights of the year, causing disaster for homeowners and property managers alike.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some ways that Reimer can help you keep your pipes from freezing this winter. If your pipes do freeze, our experienced plumbers can help you thaw them out: give us a call at (716) 694-8524. If you’d like to have our team insulate your pipes or tune up your furnace, you can either call us or contact us online.

Water Pipes Freezing RepairWhy do pipes freeze?

It’s simple physics, actually. Depending on temperature, water exists in various states: as a liquid, as a solid, or as a gas. To go from being a liquid to being a solid, temperatures need to drop below the freezing point. However, in the process, the water expands to take up more space than it did as a liquid. Have you ever left a can of soda in the freezer overnight and woken up to find that it bursted? That’s because the very full can had no room to expand when it frozen. The icy soda put pressure on the aluminium can until it burst.

Unfortunately, the same pressure that affects your frozen soda also can occur in your home’s water pipes. If temperatures are low enough, that water, too, will freeze and expand, putting immense pressure on your home’s water pipes. While they’re made of sturdier stuff than the aluminium can, they, too, have a breaking limit. Enough pressure and they’ll burst, cracking and releasing ice and water, causing a disaster in your home.

What water pipes are at risk of freezing?

The more exposed a pipe is to the outdoor elements—or, in the same way, the more removed it is from your home’s heating—the more at-risk it is of freezing. Buffalo regularly sees winter nights that drop far below freezing: outside water will freeze, so the only protection your pipes have is what’s between them and the outside. If that’s just one exterior wall, that might not be enough.

Outdoor lines—such as those going to swimming pools or hoses—will be the first to freeze, and need to be the first to be protected. However, pipes in your home but separated from heating are also in trouble. For example, any water lines that run through garages, attics, or other places without heating need help. We’ve even see water lines that run under and within cabinets become susceptible to freezing just because the cabinets are blocking warmth from reaching them.

How can Reimer help with this?

We’re experts when it comes to preventing pipes from freezing. Our plumbing experts have a variety of tools at their disposal, including: pipe sleeves, pipe heaters, and pipe heat tape. “How can tape insulate my pipe?” you might ask. According to the Red Cross, even insulation that’s ¼” thick can significantly reduce the ability for lower temperatures to get to the water inside. By insulating your most at-risk pipes, the team at Reimer can help ensure that your home is ready for the coldest nights of winter.

Of course, all the insulation we have won’t help much is your furnace fails. Your heating system is a primary deterrent against your pipes freezing. As a full-service HVAC company, Reimer can help tune up your furnace for the season and make sure it’s running right before winter arrives. Generally, any move to help your HVAC system will also help protect the water pipes running through your home.

From there, there’s some common tricks you can employ to keep your pipes from freezing. On the absolute coldest nights, run a drip from your faucet: water that’s moving freezes slower than water that is still. Open your cabinet doors to let the heat into blocked-off areas. If you’re concerned about your pipes freezing even after you’ve taken these steps, give Reimer a call, and we’ll help you however we can.

Reimer: Trusted plumbers since 1921

No matter what your plumbing needs are, Reimer can help. We’ve been serving Buffalo homeowners since 1921, and we’re proud to be your source for products, services, and advice. To learn more about our frozen pipe prevention services—or to have us thaw a frozen pipe or fix a burst pipe—give us a call at (716) 694-8524 or contact us online.

Why you should consider furnace replacement this fall

Here in Buffalo, a cold winter is fast approaching. Western New York sees it all in the winter: blizzards, below-freezing nights, and windy days. Your home should be a warm place where both your family and water pipes aren’t freezing, but are instead warm and comfortable. However, if you’re relying on an aging furnace that is near the end, you might be in for a cold awakening. You’ll need furnace replacement.

Most furnaces last between 10-20 years, with some lasting longer thanks to a good furnace maintenance record. Yet, if your heating system is getting up there in age, this fall might be a good time to consider a furnace replacement. In this blog post, we’ll share just some of the reasons that upgrading to a new furnace makes sense.

Reimer offers free estimates on new advanced Carrier furnaces. To get started, contact our team, or keep reading to learn more.

Furnace ReplacementThe truth about an aging furnace

When you bought your house twenty years ago, maybe it came with a furnace. Or, if you’ve been in your home longer than that, maybe you remember having it installed in the mid-1990s. Perhaps your furnace is slightly younger than that, or you’re just not sure.

There’s a common saying you might have heard: “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” Many people use this a justification for keeping aging HVAC systems hobbling along, year-after-year. After all, it’s hard to come to terms with replacing something that’s technically still running, right? To use another expression, why look a gift horse in the mouth? Your furnace has been fortunate enough to live to a ripe old age. You’re lucky!

Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as that. Think of your furnace in the context of a car. Sure, your very old compact car might still be street legal, but it can’t get above 45 MPH and it gets below double-digits in gas mileage. At some point, what you’re spending on repairs and energy begin to add up, to the point where maintaining your clunker of a car just isn’t it worth it anymore.

The same principle can apply to furnaces. Here in Buffalo and Western New York, heating systems are in-use through almost every night of the cold winter, working hard to keep your home and family warm. All this constant work puts strain on your furnace, and parts begin to wear down. Winter after winter, your heating system is marching toward its eventual breakdown. Along the way, it’s becoming less efficient and breaking down more often.

When will the final day be?

Nothing lasts forever. If you’re counting on your furnace to get you through the cold nights this winter, your old furnace may not be up to the task. In fact, a very old furnace could just quit working as a result of mechanical failure.

Part of the problem with gambling with an old furnace is that you don’t get to pick the time or circumstances under which your system gets replaced. For example, having to replace your furnace in a pinch is possible, but it means that you’ll need to figure out how to heat your home without it. Replacing your furnace in the fall, spring, or summer is easy for everyone involved, while replacing your furnace in a January blizzard is less so. Reimer will work with you to get your furnace replaced as fast as possible, but it’s sometimes better to plan ahead.

When you get a new furnace before your old one breaks down, you get to choose the place and time of your furnace replacement and have a minimal gap in heating.

Why should I upgrade to a new furnace?

In contrast to your old, aging furnace, a new furnace gives you a fresh start. Here’s how.

Furnaces manufactured today are better than those manufactured ten or twenty years ago. That’s because the technology has improved and furnaces are being designed with a greater emphasis on energy efficiency, to meet the (very reasonable) demands of consumers who want to save money on their electricity or gas bills. In addition to using less energy, today’s air conditioners are more powerful, have more precise heating, are often connected to smart devices, and run more quietly.

With a new furnace, you get a clean start on a new maintenance record (especially important if you purchased a home with a furnace and don’t know how or even if it was taken care of before your ownership) and a manufacturer’s warranty. That’s on top of the fact that a brand-new system is unlikely to encounter any major repair needs during its first few years of operation.

How do I start the furnace replacement process?

At Reimer, we offer free estimates on new systems. Give us a call, and we’ll arrange for one of our certified techs to come to your home and begin measurements. These are important: your heating system needs to match the size of your home for consistent and energy-efficient heating. As a Carrier Factory-Authorized Dealer, we carry a wide selection of some of the most powerful and efficient furnaces on the market today. Once you’ve received your free estimate, you can make the decision whether to purchase.

We look forward to working with you on your furnace replacement. Contact Reimer today for your free estimate.