For those on the East Coast answering West Coast questions,
(1) Pex is not widely accepted out here yet and can only be found on new properties, IF at all.
(2) Homes out here typically do not have basements â€“ most 4-plexes are built on a slab. They may have a crawl space, but it is very uncommon.
As for the actual question, the answer is YES.
Cold weather like this doesnâ€™t happen very often, BUT â€¦ you only need one situation to ruin your whole day. When it gets this cold here, pipes DO freeze, but usually only outside at the entry to the home and in un-insulated areas such as crawl spaces.
Iâ€™d recommend a few things:
(1) In most cases, the water supply and shut-off valve to the property is above ground and un-insulated. Iâ€™d recommend applying a covering of pipe insulation such as Insul-Tube 65834 Closed Cell Pipe Insulation (see it here: http://bit.ly/8TTKeH
). You can also built a wood box around the water supply and shut-off valve, layer the inside with a layer of 1â€ Styrofoam insulation â€“ this can just rest on the ground and against the house to cover the pipes â€“ donâ€™t fasten it to the property because the shut-off value has to be readily available.
(2) If your property is on a slab, you will typically not have to worry about pipes in the slab (unless we have extended days of below zero temperatures and you are not heating the property). If it has a crawl space, you can insulate the pipes in the crawl space the same way mentioned in (1) above. Most California homes have un-insulated pipes in the exterior walls â€“ therefore, you need to keep the interior heat on at all times â€“ 50% is fine.
In addition to being a Realtor, Iâ€™m also a licensed general contractor and familiar with the Sacramento area â€“ let me know if you have any additional questions.