Take steps to prevent pipes from freezing - January 18th 2013



Frozen pipes can pose a problem anywhere temperatures hover around 32 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 all family members know where the water main is and how to shut it off  or 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. Reflectix is a reflective foil insulation that works great in this case. 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 shutoff 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, or use a heat gun or hair dryer, 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 Shell Busey’s HouseSmart Home Services for a Certified Plumber.