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Extreme Cold Weather Raises Potential For Frozen and Burst Pipe Disasters

There has been an abundance of cold weather throughout the United States so far this year, and with cold weather can come disasters. Broken pipes, frozen pipes, and many other disasters can be avoided by making sure that you prepare for this kind of weather, especially if you live in an area where it gets very cold in the winter months.
The reason that pipes freeze in the winter is because water expands as it freezes. When the water expands it puts a large amount of pressure on whatever it is that is containing it – most of the time it is pipes that this happens to. Expanding water can cause pipes to burst and then break. The pipes that are most susceptible to breaking from the cold weather and water pressure are the pipes that are exposed to the extreme cold (swimming pool supply lines, sprinkler lines, water supply lines in unheated areas, garages, kitchen cabinets, outdoor hose bibs, etc.). Also, pipes that run along exterior walls with little to no insulation are also at risk of freezing.

A burst pipe can call for a large cleanup and a lot of money. Water damage restoration can be pricey if the cleanup and repair isn’t covered by your insurance. Generally speaking, the best way to avoid a costly cleanup and damages is to prepare your home for the winter so that you don’t have to deal with burst pipes on your property.

Here are some preventative steps to take while it is cold outside so that the pipes in your home do not freeze and cause plumbing issues:

1) Keep your garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in that area. Try to keep all of the heat that you can inside of the garage, because if you have pipes in there and the temperatures are below zero, chances are you will be dealing with frozen pipes sooner than later.
2) Open cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathroom to allow the warmer air to circulate around the plumbing systems. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners/chemicals out of reach of any animals or children.
3) If it is extremely cold outside, let cold water drop from the faucet that is supplied from the exposed piping. Running water through the pipe, even if it is just barely a trickle, will help prevent the pipes from freezing.
4) Keep the thermostat at the same temperature through the day and the night. When you turn down the temperatures to try and save money on your heating bill during the night, you may be risking frozen pipes to wake up to in the morning.
5) If you plan on going on vacation during the cold weather, leave the heat on in your home and set it to about 55 degrees or higher. Also, it is a good idea to have someone come over and check your house while you’re gone to help further prevent any issues from escalating.

For further protection, consider these tips as well:
1) Try and re-locate exposed pipes to provide increased protection against freezing. If you decide you would like to re-locate your pipes, it can be done by a professional if the home is remodeled.
2) Add insulation to basements, basements, and crawl spaces. The insulation will keep the area at a higher temperature in these areas.

The most effective way to prevent frozen pipes is by insulating the pipes that are exposed to colder temperatures, and keeping your heat at or above 55 degrees at all times. Frozen pipes that burst can be very costly to home and business owners alike, but can be prevented easily by taking the proper precautions.