Baby It's Cold Outside - Avoiding Freeze Damage - Part 1

Real Estate Agent with Hiawassee, Young Harris, Blairsville, Hayesville, Murphy and Beyond! GA 281904 and NC 185282

Bill and Cyndi Daves REMAX


Unless you've been on an extended vacation in the tropics, no doubt you have encountered some sub-freezing temperatures over the last few weeks.  While a white Christmas is the subject of many songs and the dream of school kids everywhere, if the bone-chilling, frostbite-inducing cold hangs around too long it can wreak havoc on your home.  


This past week we encountered one of our listings that had an issue with a frozen condensate drain.  "What's that?" you say? The condenser unit of your HVAC system has a large pan that collects the excess moisture that the system pulls out of the air in your home.  This collected water drains out of the pan through a pipe to the outside of your home.  Due to the below-freezing temps we've been having the water in the pipe (outside) froze so the pan couldn't drain.  But the heat was still on (inside) pulling more moisture out of the air.  You see the problem here.  Yep, that's right.  The pan filled up and, before the float switch could cut the heat unit off, it overflowed.  Into the ceiling, through the insulation and into the drywall ceiling leaving a nasty stain and dangling bits of drywall.  Of course, once the float functioned properly and shut down the HVAC unit, the house temperature dropped below freezing and caused potential problems with pipes as well. 


The solution to the problem was relatively simple.  The installation of "heat tape" to the pipe.  If you're not familiar with heat tape and you live anywhere north of the Equator, you should familiarize yourself.  Basically, it looks like an extension cord.  You plug it in and wrap the tape around the pipe.  It heats up like an electric blanket and keeps the pipe warm, which keeps the water draining out of the condensate pan and, therefore, allows the heat to stay on in the house.  



Problem solved!


Bill and Cyndi Daves


Stick around for Part 2.













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Comments (6)

Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Bill & Cyndi Daves ,
These are great tips and vacant homes can be at particular risk during the winter if no-one is watching them regularly.  Thanks for the post. 

Jan 21, 2018 09:51 AM
Bill & Cyndi Daves
Hiawassee, Young Harris, Blairsville, Hayesville, Murphy and Beyond! - Hiawassee, GA
TeamDAVES - Your REALTORS In the GA/NC Mountains!

Carol Williams - thank you.  Yes, vacant homes are at a high risk.  Especially in those zones where it's not the norm to plunge below freezing and stay there for an extended period of time.  Those sellers are just not prepared like their northern neighbors.

Jan 21, 2018 10:28 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Well this isn't a problem I've seen personally before.  (Thank goodness.)  

Jan 21, 2018 03:55 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Those are excellent tips for avoiding freeze damage Bill and Cyndi.  While we have dipped into the upper 30s at night this winter in Sacramento.  Thus far we have avoided freeze.  We are over due.

Jan 21, 2018 04:22 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

This is such a valuable tip! It's a life saver for people living in cold climate. I forwarded your information to my son who could appreciate it. Thank you!

Jan 22, 2018 02:27 AM
Golden1 Agents
San Mateo, CA

Thank you for sharing this.

Jan 25, 2018 06:30 AM