Your Home: Winter Plumbing
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As the cold weather settles in, many homeowners are worried about their heating costs rising and keeping their houses warm. Another cause for concern this time of year is one you might not think of, until something goes wrong.
Alan Ayers, General Manager at Crisafulli Brothers Plumbing says, "Unfortunately, most of the calls we get this time of year are due to freezing pipes. Typically the frozen pipes are from people not realizing they have open cracks to the outside elements from their foundations, their windows, their doors."
One way to protect yourself is to check around the outside of your home before winter and make sure your windows are closed and the envelope of your home is sealed. Ayers says, "Any pipes that are in close proximity to the wall, you would want to have insulated. If their within 10 to 12 inches from the wall, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have them covered with some type of pipe insulation. It's very easy to do. Typically, at any of your home improvement stores, you can find the black rubber type material insulation that is already pre-split and has adhesive on it. You wrap it around the pipe and stick the adhesive together."
If you're unfortunate enough to have a pipe burst there are steps you need to take immediately in order to prevent a lot of damage from occurring. Ayers says, "First thing is if you know where your water meter is, typically there is a main shut off valve at the water meter. Shut that valve off immediately and then call your local plumber to have them come take a look. Even after a minute of water running from a burst pipe, that even five, ten gallons of water, which if you think of a five gallon bucket of water being dumped into your home, it could do thousands and thousands of dollars worth of damage."
Don't forget to undo and turn off the water to your outside hoses and spickets, as that is one area of your home often overlooked. And it's not just an old wives' tale. If you have a history of frozen pipes or an older home and the temperature is very cold, allow some water to slowly drip from your faucet.