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5 Steps to Prevent Pipes from Freezing

Preventing frozen pipes is of course much easier than dealing with them after the fact! When pipes freeze, the water inside expands and the expansion leaves them at risk of bursting. This is of particular concern for those that winter in the warmer climates or are away for an extended amount of time.

Here are some steps to help prevent pipes from freezing during the winter months, especially if you are traveling.

  1. If you are planning to be out of town for an extended period of time, to prevent pipes from freezing be sure to turn off the main shut-off valve to your water supply and drain your faucets. If your home has separate shut-off valves for each outdoor faucet, do not forget to turn each one off as well as the main supply valve. Remember to turn your hot water heater off before turning of the main water valve however.
  2. Another good rule of thumb to prevent pipes from freezing is to disconnect all of your garden hoses and wrap all outdoor faucets with an insulating material. Once covered, be sure to wrap the insulation with a moisture barrier like plastic, duct tape, or other material to keep rain out.
  3. Here in the Northeast it’s never a good idea to turn your furnace off, instead lower the thermostat to 45-50 degrees so your home does not freeze up and enjoy the energy savings while you are away.
  4. As you’re preparing your home for winter, look for cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes. In order to prevent pipes from freezing, these crevices should be sealed with caulking to keep cold wind away from the pipes.
  5. If you have sinks located on exterior walls, the cold air from the outside could freeze the pipes beneath your sink. Therefore, as a safety measure to prevent pipes from freezing, it is recommended that you leave your cabinet doors open when you’re away. The warm air from inside the house can then circulate around the pipes keeping them warmer.

Most major damage from frozen pipes occurs when a home is unoccupied during a cold spell, causing the pipes to freeze solid – resulting in thousands of dollars in damage. However, by following just a few simple steps you can protect your home from the elements and prevent your pipes from freezing. It’s also a great idea to have a friend or family member check your home once a week.

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