Okay, guys, need some input and hopefully it will be reassuring. I'm out of town right now, and my power at home went out with the winds yesterday. At first I thought it would be okay because the weather was in the 50s, but now it's looking to get to the 20s tomorrow. Power is not estimated to be restored until late Saturday night. So, do I have to be worried about my pipes freezing in this time frame?
I have someone checking on the house, and they said they would turn all of the faucets on to a trickle today. I do have one bathroom on an outside wall, and my clothes washer is on the second floor above the garage. Otherwise the other two bathrooms and the kitchen sink/dishwasher are on interior walls.
I do have a gas fireplace but it ignites with a light switch - I have no idea how to light it without that switch. My hot water tank is in the garage, so I'm worried about the pipes connected to that freezing as well because the garage has no insulation.
Running water won't freeze. All you need to do is find the faucets furthest away from the water source and crack both hot and cold valves so that they maintain a slow drip - one drop every five seconds will keep the pipes from freezing.
In the future, there is a product you can buy to prevent this. Heating tape can be run along a pipe and plugged, keeping the temperature above freezing. It's used in mobile homes a lot, as pipes run under the home tend to freeze easily.
Affirmative on Jack's post. Have had several old, old homes including outside water well back when we had winters to speak about. Tell your person just a trickle is good enough don't need a hard stream and it should flow the water tank interior ok with both hot and cold flowing.
Try out that switch anyway for the fireplace.
Good news! At first I thought the fireplace switch wasn't working without power until I realized the pilot light was out - apparently the wind blew it out. The pilot starter wasn't working so I had to pay a service guy to come out and show me how to get the pilot lit; he actually talked me through the whole system set up because I'd never had a gas fireplace so it was worth the service call. But the switch does work even when power isn't on and I've got the temp up to 60. Still running a dribble of water just in case.
Good. Those switches typically work on basically static electricity.