Frozen pipes: How to prevent one less winter headache

(WHTM) – With an arctic blast hitting the Midstate, there's the possibility of a problem no homeowner or renter ever wants to deal with: frozen and burst water pipes.

According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), frozen and burst pipes are the most common cause of property damage during the winter months. Burst pipes can cause severe water damage, which in some cases can cost over $5,000 to repair.

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The reason pipes burst after freezing is due to water's unique ability to expand when it freezes. When the water in a pipe freezes, the ice pushes against the outside walls of the pipe. This expansion can be so great that it can cause cracks in the pipes. As the pipes thaw and water begins to flow, the pressure of the water flow can cause the pipes to leak or burst.

Pipes in unheated interior spaces are most at risk, but pipes that run through cabinets or exterior walls are also at risk of frost.

The American Red Cross has offered some tips to ensure you don't have to deal with the freezing mess of frozen and burst pipes.

  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to help circulate warm air around plumbing fixtures
  • If you're going away for a few days, make sure your home thermostat temperature is no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit
  • If pipes are located in a room of the house that is not heated, consider adding insulation around the pipes, such as: B. a pipe sleeve, a heating tape or even newspaper. Just a quarter inch of newspaper can protect pipes exposed to freezing temperatures.
  • Allowing cold water to drip from the faucets will keep the water running and prevent the water from freezing.

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If you suspect your pipe is frozen, the American Red Cross recommends keeping the faucet open while you heat it. To thaw frozen pipes, use an electric heating pad or hair dryer. If you cannot easily locate the frozen pipe, contact a local licensed plumber.

For more information on winter safety and winter safety resources, the Red Cross offers helpful resources.

The winter months can be full of ice, snow and cold air. By following these tips, you can ensure that winter dirt stays outside your home and doesn't get inside.

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