This weekend freezing temperatures have been predicted in the weather forecast, with the possibility of snow by Sunday. With freezing temperatures a definite possibility, its time to take those last minute precautions to prevent damage to your water pipes caused by frozen water.

It's a common occurrence for unprepared homeowners to be caught by the first chill of winter, and there is nothing more frustrating than to turn the faucet expecting water and to be surprised by little or no water. Nothing more frustrating that is, until you get the repair bill.

With an arctic chill set to hit the area this weekends, here are some tips to prevent your water supply lines and pipes from freezing:

  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • Insulate water lines in unheated spaces. Water pipes that run through an attic, basement, crawl space or garage should be insulated to prevent freezing. There are many products designed for this purpose.
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  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Close inside valves that provide water to outdoor hose bibs. After turning off the valves, open the hose bib to let it drain. Leave the faucet on to prevent any remaining water from freezing and bursting the pipe.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler, and other supply lines. Follow the manufacturer's suggestions.

Contact your local water company for more tips, or information and further tips on how to prevent water pipe damage.

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