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2013-01-16 10:06:20
Preventing Flood Damage from Frozen Pipes

Record low temperatures are hitting Utah, many of the cities around Daybreak have been in the single digit lows and many overnight temperatures have even been below zero. Besides dealing with freezing cold weather and snowy commutes, the extreme cold can also cause problems around your home. Taking a few extra steps of precaution can help to avoid frustration and expensive repairs. The severe weather has already caused the pipes in many Utah homes to freeze and burst, which is sometimes accompanied by flooding damage that can take weeks and thousands of dollars to repair. Plumbing companies are seeing more calls than normal this winter, some saying a 20% increase. The most common pipes to freeze are those that are either outside, or too close to an exterior wall, or those not protected by insulation. However with the colder than normal temperatures we are seeing this winter, even interior pipes are at higher risk of freezing. Here are a few tips from local plumbing contracts to help decreasing your risk of encountering problems due to frozen pipes:

  • Many people will turn down the heat overnight to save on utility bills, but keeping the furnace idle for too long in this cold can cause problems.
  • When you turn on water, make sure to run it for longer than a few seconds. If you turn on the faucet for just a quick second, the water my stick in the pipe and may not empty completely.
  • Walk through the house and check the pipes that are along outside walls, or those in the basement. Make sure they are protected with an insulation sleeve.
  • Don’t let pipes sit idle for too long. If you will be gone at work all day, or before going to bed for the night, let the taps and showerheads drip.
  • Open cabinet doors in under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. The warmer air from the room will help to keep the area around the pipes warmer.
  • Periodically run each faucet and check to make sure the water pressure looks normal. If you notice a decrease in pressure this could mean pipes are beginning to freeze.
  • If you are going out of town, or your home is vacant due to a move, make sure to keep your furnace running while you are gone. If you want to save on heating costs and take further steps to protect from a flood, turn off the primary water valve to the house. Then, run every faucet until the water runs out. Keeping your pipes free of moisture is the safest way to protect from a problem.
  • Check your hose bib to make sure the hose has been disconnected. Most newer homes have freezeproof hose bibs that place the shut-off valve 12 inches inside the walls of the home instead of outside on the hose bib itself. However, in order for this to be effective you need to disconnect the hose. Otherwise, water can back up into the pipe and freeze.
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