Freeze Alarm Could Have Prevented Frozen Pipe Fiasco: Real Life Case Study

Freeze alarms protect from frozen pipesLike many vacation homeowners, my husband and I employ a local caretaker to mow the lawn, plow the snow, and pick up the trash.  Our caretakers — a reliable, honest neighborhood couple — also stop by our house every Monday and do a walk-through to ensure that everything is intact and in working order.  If they see any problems, they notify us immediately.  One Monday morning last January, they called to tell us that our furnace had failed.  The indoor temperature had dropped to below 32° F and they were concerned about freezing pipes.  Ugh!

Fortunately, a repairman was able to service the furnace that same day and restore heat.  Unfortunately, the shower head and valve in the bathroom suffered damage from the freezing temperatures and needed to be replaced.

We recognized that things could have been a whole lot worse if the house had gone unheated for a longer period of time and pondered what we could do to prevent that from happening in the future.   Do we increase the number of weekly visits by our caretakers?  Would more visits make a difference?  Probably not, we concluded, because our pipes were still susceptible to freezing if the furnace failed in between caretaker visits during a prolonged cold snap.

We decided to investigate whether there is some kind of device that would warn us if the heat went out again so we could remedy the situation before the pipes began to freeze.  A quick search on Google showed that the product we wanted does exist and it’s called a  “freeze alarm.”  These very affordable, easy-to-install monitors will alert you by phone or Internet when the temperature in your home drops below a certain temperature (typically around 45° F).  Some freeze alarms even notify you of a power outage, a common precursor to a temperature emergency, and the more advanced systems also allow you to call in and get an exact temperature reading at any time.  We choose the Sensaphone 400 unit because with optional equipment, it doubles as a remote thermostat so we can adjust the temperature in the house by telephone.  Now, with a simple phone call, our vacation house is pre-heated by the time we arrive on a cold winter’s night!

With the addition of our new freeze alarm, we are much more confident that our vacation home is protected from another frozen pipe fiasco.  We still rely on our wonderful caretakers to be our eyes and ears when we’re away, but in between their visits, our Sensaphone 400 system is constantly monitoring the temperature in our home.  And if something goes wrong, the Sensaphone 400 will call us!

Comments

  1. with the housEvolve temperature monitoring & control kit you receive multiple levels of alerts prior to getting the freeze alert. for example, if your thermostat drops below your set point, you will get a phone call…this makes for a much less stressful situation then getting a freeze alert as your first warning that something is wrong in your home. housEvolve is available through diycontrols.com. if you have any questions about the system, you can contact FREEVOLVE directly.

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