October 2, 2022

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Do you turn off the power to save money? It can be expensive

Dropping: Many people are turning down the heat to save money these days. Experts warn that it may not be wise. Photo: Shutterstock / Tryg Forsikring

Insurance and plumbing companies warn not to save money by cutting the power in some rooms when you go on vacation.

Winter break is next week, and with electricity prices soaring, many may fall into the temptation to save a penny by turning off the heating in rooms they shouldn’t be using while they are away.

Now insurance company Tryg Forsikring is out and warns against turning off the heat in rooms that have water pipes.

– If there is frost outdoors, water in pipes in cold rooms can freeze and turn into ice, which could cause significant water damage if the pipe cracks afterward, says Torbjørn Brandeggen, Communications Consultant at Tryg, in a statement Journalist.

Instead, the insurance company recommends getting a temperature of at least 10 degrees in rooms where there are water pipes.

daily examples

Plumbers are worried, too. They often see examples of energy savings that can lead to frost and water damage.

– After rising electricity prices and entering the cold of winter, we have almost daily tasks where we see customers trying to save money by turning off all types of heating and closing all valves in rooms that have water pipes. Many express that they can’t stand a cool temperature in all rooms, something we understand, says Axel Heydari, general manager at 24/7 Rørleggervakten in Oslo.

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“We will continue to warn of it because the bill can be high if the water freezes, and water damage ends up when the frost melts and the pipes crack, he adds.

Especially in older apartment buildings, they see water pipes from the 1950s which are often placed next to air vents.

– Heidari explains that without any heat here, the danger of frozen water pipes is too great, which at worst can end in expensive total damage.

Frostbite Concerns in Businesses

Last year Tryg Forsikring saw the number of frost damage causing water damage increase by more than 20 percent, and for the entire industry there is a record high compensation cost for 2021 of more than NOK 3.5 billion for water damage in general. It appears from Saturday’s press release.

We are seeing a clear increase in the number of water damages also among our business customers, and we know that many small and medium-sized businesses are now in periods of turning off the heat where they can avoid exorbitant electricity costs. If there is a frost period, we fear a lot of water damage as more people are likely to wait longer to turn on the heat to save money. Unfortunately, this is a result of the fact that many businesses have been hit hard, and some have to choose between saving electricity or, at worst, risking termination, says Torbjørn Brandeggen at Tryg Forsikring.

Follow these tips

At 24/7 Rørleggervakten, there is one thing in particular that customers ask about.

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– Everyone is suddenly preoccupied with the water heater, and whether they can turn it off, or up and down for parts of the day. They realize that it takes a lot of energy. The danger of modifying this yourself is to risk Legionella bacteria in the water. If the water heater has been turned off for a shorter or longer period of time, do not use water from there to shower until the temperature reaches at least 70 degrees, the FHI recommends. So people need to be absolutely sure of the water heater temperature at all times, so we don’t recommend such drastic measures to save electricity. Instead, buy a new water heater if yours is 10 to 15 years old, says Heydari.

Since 2010, the insurance industry has paid out nearly NOK 3 billion in frost damage, according to Tryg Forsikring estimates. On average, frost damage repair in a private house costs just over NOK 70,000.

How to prevent water and frost damage indoors:

• Turn off the main tap before leaving. Remember to turn on the tap and let the water come out of the pipes.

• Close all windows and valves in rooms with plumbing.

• Maintain a cool temperature, preferably above 10 degrees in living rooms and rooms with water pipes.

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Antifreeze in water traps can prevent frost blast and evaporation (empty water traps can cause an odor from drain pipes seeping into the home).

If you have pipes in a crawl space or in a cold attic, you should talk to a plumber about the insulation solution.

To thaw frozen tubes:

• If you have not already closed the main tap – do so now. If the water is allowed to overflow freely, you will be guaranteed a waterfall when the ice plug melts into a sleet filled pipe.

• Heating the room.

• Once you locate the frozen tube, feel free to blow it with a hair dryer or hot air gun, but under constant supervision.

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The use of open heat as a ski stove and life-threatening ski coating is strictly prohibited.

After thawing, carefully open the main tap while checking the tubes for any leaks.

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