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Frozen pipes are a common problem at this time of year. At best, frozen pipes are a nuisance. At worst, frozen pipes can burst open and cause hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage. Knowing how to prevent your pipes from freezing can save you time, trouble and expense.
Leave the Faucet Running
This is one of the most common prevention methods practiced by homeowners. Leave the faucets in your home running when the temperature outside drops quickly and when the temperature outside remains extremely low for a long period of time. Many homeowners may wonder what outdoor temperature is low enough to cause pipes to freeze. In reality, this varies by household depending on a home's insulation and the location of the pipes in the house. As a general rule, temperatures in the 10s and 20s (Fahrenheit) are considered low enough to cause the pipes to freeze. When leaving the faucet running, turn on both hot and cold water. Set the faucet at a trickle.
Keep Warm Air Flowing
On occasions when the faucets are left running, leave cabinet and closet doors open to expose pipes inside. This promotes airflow and allows warm, heated air from the house to keep the pipes warm.
Keep the Heater Turned On
Leave the heat running when you leave your house for an extended period of time. If you want to keep the cost of heating your empty home at a minimum, set the thermostat to a cool 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Insulate Your Pipes
One of the best ways to prevent your pipes from freezing is to install pipe insulation. Insulation prevents the cold air outside the pipe from affecting the water temperature inside the pipe. Homeowners on a budget can do this inexpensively by wrapping the pipes in newspapers, rags or towels and using zip ties to keep the insulation attached. However, pipe insulation purchased from a plumbing supply store will offer more protection and may be easier to install. Pipe insulation comes in self-adhesive sleeves that can be easily cut down to the length of the pipes being insulated. Insulation can be installed as a DIY project over a weekend, or can be installed by a licensed plumber.
For more information about how you can protect your pipes and prevent them from freezing this winter, contact a licensed plumber in your area. For more information about pipe insulation, stop in at a local plumbing supply store or visit websites like http://gopherplumbing.com.