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7 Ways to Prevent Pipe Bursts this Winter

Burst pipes are the bogeymen of winter plumbing problems. Will they rupture in a wall or ceiling? In the crawl space? In the attic? Luckily, there are some things you can do to get your home ready for a freeze.
1. Locate pipes at risk of freezing and add insulation to them. High-risk zones include the garage, crawl space, attic, unfinished basement and other unheated or poorly insulated areas indoors. Your local hardware store should have pipe insulation, or pipe sleeves, as well as outdoor spigot covers and other insulating products. The higher the insulation's R-value, the better.
2. Outdoor plumbing should also be protected, if possible. Disconnect garden hoses and drain your sprinkler system. You don't want water trapped in there, waiting to freeze and expand.
3. Seal cracks and other holes in your exterior walls, including those around any light fixtures, outdoor electrical outlets and any phone or cable lines coming into your house. Drafts from these openings can not only chill the pipes in your walls but also waste your heating budget!
4. Don't set your thermostat too low on freezing nights, or while you're on a winter vacation. Your home's heating system helps prevent pipes freezing.
5. Open the cabinet doors below kitchen and bathroom sinks if you're worried heated air isn't reaching the pipes inside.
6. Turn your facets on just enough to slowly drip. Most pipes burst between an ice blockage and the faucet, not between the blockage and the source of your water supply. Opening up the faucet reduces the pressure in the pipe, hopefully enough to avoid a rupture.
7. If you turn on a faucet during cold weather and little or no water comes out, you may have a frozen pipe. Turn any closed faucets on, turn off your water main, turn up your thermostat and call a plumber to help you. Many DIY thawing methods can actually damage your pipes, so it is best to rely on a professional.
ARS®/Rescue Rooter® offers 24-hour emergency plumbing services. Call 1-800-277-9400 for more information on freezing pipe prevention or to schedule an appointment.
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