Prevent Freezing PipesDecember 14, 2004
Frozen pipes can pose a problem anywhere temperatures hover around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. While the good news is that frozen or burst pipes do not endanger people, the bad news is that the damage to your home or property can be extensive --damaging floors, ceilings, walls, rugs and furnishings.
Even a tiny 1/8-inch crack can spill up to 250 gallons of water per day. That's why it makes sense to take whatever steps possible to prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting.
Before freezing weather sets in:
· Make sure adult family members know how to shut off water and call a plumber if needed.
· Insulate pipes, especially those close to outside walls, in attics or crawl spaces where the chance of freezing is greatest. If you have an outside electrical water pump, don't forget to insulate it as well.
· Wrap pipes with heat tape.
· Seal leaks surrounding or near pipes.
· Remember to bring garden hoses in and turn off and drain water to outdoor spigots at the cutoff valve.
· If you have an outdoor pool or spa, check with the manufacturer on how to protect it from freezing.
During a cold spell:
· Keep heat at 55° F. or higher.
· Turn on both hot and cold faucets near outside walls to allow a small trickle of water to run during the night and, if seldom used, during extremely cold days as well.
· Keep sink cabinet doors open to allow more heat to circulate around pipes underneath, particularly if located near exterior walls.
· If you need to be away from home, leave the heat on or drain your water system before you go. Ask someone to check your house daily.
If your pipes freeze:
· Open all faucets.
· Remove insulation and wrap pipes in rags. If possible, pour hot water over pipes, starting where exposure to the cold is greatest. If that doesn't thaw them, call your plumber. Don't try to thaw pipes with an open flame of any kind.
If your pipes burst:
· Shut off the water immediately to prevent additional damage.
· Take proper precautions to avoid an electrical shock from being in or near standing water.
· Call your plumber.
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