With Winter almost here, many homeowners are finding themselves worrying that their pipes will freeze. At best, frozen pipes are an inconvenience because they cannot deliver water to the faucet. At worse, the pressure from expanding water inside the pipes can cause the pipes to burst, leading to terrible water damage when the water inside finally thaws.
Homeowners who are worried that their pipes will freeze may have fun making a “frozen pipe alarm.” This alarm alerts homeowners when the air around the pipes drops to a temperature near freezing, indicating that it’s time to turn on a slow trickle of water in the faucet. This project is great for home DIYers, tech enthusiasts and middle school students who are learning about electronics (provided there is an adult available to help).
For reference, follow the instructions in this video online:
Glass of ice water
Wire a thermistor to a 10K resister.
Connect the device to a micro-controller, like an Arduino.
Calibrate the sensor by wrapping the thermistor in a small plastic bag, and submerging the bag in the ice water. The point of the bag is to protect the thermistor from the water, so be sure to check that the bag has no leaks before putting the thermistor and bag into the water.
With the thermistor in the ice water, perform an analog reading of the output voltage, to find out what the voltage is when the temperature reads just above freezing.
Establish this voltage as the value that will activate the alarm.
Wire the alarm to the sensor. If you wish to use another type of alarm, instead of a buzzer, you may do so. For a silent alarm, consider using an LED light.
Solder the alarm parts onto a perf board.
Place the alarm and perf board in a project box, to keep the alarm neat and contained.
Drill a small hole in the wall between the pipes.
Place the thermistor into the hole. Use a smudge of putty to keep the thermistor in place.
Mount the alarm in a location where you’ll be able to hear it buzz when the temperature drops.
Hopefully your pipes won’t freeze this Winter, but if they do, you’ll want to inspect the pipes for damage. If your pipes do burst in the freezing cold temperatures, contact Terry’s Plumbing at 412-364-9114. We offer guaranteed service and answer our phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.