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5 easy tips to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting


Plumbers expect the cold weather to keep them busy this weekend with calls of pipes freezing and bursting.

“When the temperature gets below 20 into the teens, you can anticipate the conditions are right for pipes to freeze,” said Tom Hilt, sales manager at Dauenhauer Plumbing.

Photos from Paul Davis Restoration of Louisville show what can happen when pipes freeze and burst. One picture shows a kitchen that looks like an iceberg crashed inside. Another shows a firefighter wading through ankle-deep water in a cafeteria. Other photos show icicles on pipes that have burst.

“Water can literally be shooting out of the pipe and destroying anything in the area; destroy the carpet, destroy the furniture, destroy the drywall,” Hilt said.

He added that their crews are ready for this weekend’s cold temperatures, but they also want people to be prepared too, with five easy tips.

Tip No. 1: Turn up your heat.

“Your home should be about 68 degrees, and you should leave the heat up even if you’re going to leave the home and leave the home for an extended period of time, because the pipes could freeze whether you’re there or not,” Hilt said.

Tip No. 2: Open the cabinet doors to sinks.

“[If] that sink is on an exterior wall, you want to open the cabinet doors and let the warm air circulate and warm those pipes up,” Hilt said.

Tip No. 3: Leave all sinks in your home on a trickle.

“You don’t have to let it run a lot, but a little more than a drip so there’s a constant flow of water going through the pipes,” Hilt said.

Worried about wasting water and money by leaving faucets running? Hilt says don’t be.

“What this will cost compared to a broken pipe … it doesn’t compare,” Hilt said.

Tip No. 4: Remove hoses from outdoor faucets.

Tip No. 5: Know where your main water shutoff is.

“If you were to have a pipe burst, and there was water shooting everywhere, you wouldn’t want this to be the first time you go looking for your main water shut-off,” Hilt said. “If you know where it is, and you have an accident happen like that, you can go shut it off and then call for help.”

Hilt says if you turn on your faucet and nothing’s coming out, you may have frozen pipes, they just have not burst yet. Hilt says plumbers can thaw them out before they burst.

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