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How to minimize risk of pipes freezing in cold temps - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

How to minimize risk of pipes freezing in cold temps

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Extreme cold temperatures are causing water pipes to freeze and burst in many places across the country. Temperatures across Southern Colorado have been reaching serious lows especially during the night and early morning hours, which puts water pipes at risk. 

The demand for plumbing repair and water cleanup services is exceeding resources for companies like leading plumbing repair provider Roto-Rooter, according to a release.

However there are steps that people can take to minimize the risk of a plumbing catastrophe. According to a release, when pipes freeze pressure builds inside pipes causing them to crack, no matter what they are made out of.

Experts say even the tiniest crack can unleash more than 200 gallons of water in a single day. Roto-Rooter is offering tips to homeowners in preventing these expensive repairs. 

  • Disconnect outside water hoses. If left connected, water in the hoses will freeze and expand causing outside faucets and connecting pipes inside your home to freeze and break. Cover outside faucets with Styrofoam faucet insulation kits found at home centers.
  • If outside faucets are dripping or leaking, make the necessary repairs or call a plumber before freezing temperatures arrive.
  • If your washing machine is in an unheated garage, turn off water supply lines leading to the washer and disconnect the hoses if temperatures have dropped below freezing.
  • Allow a trickle of hot and cold water to run overnight in sinks and bathtubs with water supply pipes that run along outside walls.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets beneath sinks (located along outside walls) to allow heat in the room to circulate around uninsulated pipes.
  • Add insulation wraps to water pipes in unheated areas, such as garages or crawl spaces. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around water supply pipes that are exposed and prone to freezing, but be sure not to attach these devices to flammable materials.
  • Keep the furnace is turned on and set no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here's what to do if your pipes are already frozen:

  • Shut-off the water main leading into the structure and open faucets indoors. This will reduce pressure on the frozen pipes and minimize flooding if the pipes burst.
  • If the frozen pipe is exposed and visible, use a hair dryer or space heater to thaw the ice blockage. Do not use an open flame!
  • Examine exposed pipes for leaks. Even with the water main turned off, there will be enough pressure to reveal leaks once the pipe has thawed.
  • Contact a professional plumber equipped with pipe-thawing equipment to get your pipes flowing again, and if necessary, to make repairs to damaged pipes.
  • Even if no leaks are found, a plumber should examine pipes that experienced a hard freeze. Some pipes may need to be replaced if the material has experienced stretching and fatigue, putting the pipes at risk for future failure.
  • If you’ve experienced flooding or water damage, contact a certified water cleanup service provider to remove the water and deal with the damage left behind.
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