With electricity prices on the rise, it’s wise to be aware. It is clear that home heating makes up most of your electricity consumption, and so you may pay to lower the temperatures in your home.
These days, many Norwegians go for their winter holidays, and then it makes sense to lower the temperature at home while you’re on a trip. However, Tryg Forsikring cautions against turning off the heat in rooms with plumbing while you are away.
– If there is frost outside, the water in the pipes in cold rooms can freeze and turn into ice. Communications consultant Torbjørn Brandeggen in Tryg says in a press release that it can cause significant water damage if the pipe cracks afterwards.
The insurance company recommends that you have at least 10 degrees in rooms where there are plumbing.
The bill can be high
Rørleggervakten’s 24/7 general manager Axel Heydari says in the press release that they see daily examples of energy savings that can lead to frost and water damage.
– After electricity prices rose and the winter cold entered, we had almost daily tasks where we see customers trying to save money by turning off all kinds of heating and closing all valves in rooms that have water pipes, says Heydari.
He understands that many people feel that they cannot maintain a certain temperature in all rooms, but at the same time they warn that this can be costly in the long run.
– If the water freezes and ends up spoiling the water when the frost melts and the pipe cracks, the bill can be high. In Oslo we see many water pipes from the 1950s in old apartment buildings, often next to the air valve. Without any heat here, Haidari says, the risk of frozen water pipes is too great, which in the worst case could end in costly overall damage.
In 2021, Tryg Forsikring saw a 20 percent increase in the number of frost damage caused by water damage. According to the company, the total cost of compensation to the entire industry for water damage in 2021 is likely to be a record high, at more than NOK 3.5 billion.
We see a clear increase in the number of water damage also among our business customers, and we know that many small and medium-sized businesses are now in periods turning off the heat where they can avoid increased electricity costs, Brandigen says.
Tryg fears there will be a lot of water damage from saving money and waiting until the last minute to turn on the heating.
“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 Brandigin.
Heydari at 24/7 Rørleggervakten says there is one thing in particular that worries customers during the day – the water heater.
They wonder if they can turn it off, or up and down parts of the day. They realize that it takes a lot of energy. The danger of modifying this yourself, Haidari says, is that you risk Legionella bacteria in the water.
FHI He writes that the temperature in the water heater should be kept at least 70 degrees, since Legionella bacteria will quickly die.
Rinsing the shower with 70 degrees water for five minutes four times a year, and regular rinsing with hot water at 60 degrees, for example after a shower, provides good safety against Legionella bacteria. If the water heater has been turned off for a shorter or longer period of time, water from there should not be used for showering until the water temperature reaches 70 degrees, FHI states.
– Therefore people must be absolutely sure of the temperature of the water heater at all times and therefore we do not recommend such drastic measures to save electricity. Instead, buy a new water heater if yours is between 10 and 15 years old, Haidari encourages.
Preventing Frost and Water Damage:
- 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 calm temperature, preferably above 10 degrees in living rooms and rooms with water pipes.
- Antifreeze in water traps can prevent frost blast and evaporation (empty water traps can cause odors from drainpipes to seep 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 haven’t already turned off the main tap – do it 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.
- Room heating.
- Once you locate the frozen tube, feel free to blow on it with a hair dryer or hot air gun, but with constant supervision.
- 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.
Source: Tryg Forsikring
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