Extreme and continuous cold weather is here. In the midst of checking on our neighbors and fellow church members who may be struggling in the winter weather, our church buildings also need extra attention.
Patrick Currier, Chair of the Property Committee of the Diocesan Board, and Charles Moore of the Foundation of the Diocese, advise that all churches take the following precautions to prevent freezing pipes (use these tips at home, too!):
- Set your thermostat’s low point just a bit higher than typical in extreme cold.
- Keep cabinet doors open below sinks, especially on exterior walls. This will allow for ambient heat to filter into the cabinets. Likewise, in rooms that have minimal or no heat (basements, utility rooms, small bathrooms. etc.), leave doors open to allow heat to enter. Set small fans to push warm room air into any cold spaces.
- If you have a sink that’s given you trouble in the past, leave a trickle of water running during extreme cold. Every few hours, turn the drip up to full flow.
Another tip: this summer, have a quality plumbing contractor survey the church’s entire plumbing system and implement recommendations to prevent future freezing.
The Church Pension Group also recommends the following steps to prepare your church for winter (download their full Winter Checklist here):
- Check for buildup of ice and snow on the roof. Accumulation can place significant stress on the roof and cause significant area damage to shingles, gutters, downspouts and flashing.
- Visually inspect all walkways, entrances, exits, parking areas for ice or snow accumulations. Make sure handrails are free from ice. Use sand to add traction and salt to melt ice and snow.
- Have all heating systems inspected annually, and consider having a qualified professional evaluate the functioning of heating systems if this has not recently been done.
If you discover a burst pipe or other major winter-related damage in your church, be sure to notify the diocesan office and contact your insurance carrier.
What’s your top cold weather tip? Tell us in the comments!