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Protecting Plumbing During a Winter Storm
If the heat will be off in your home for several days during a winter storm, you should protect exposed plumbing, sewage systems and appliances from freezing and subsequent damage. Frozen pipes could become a problem once the temperature inside the home falls below 40 degrees F.
If some pipes have frozen, despite the fact that power has returned or exists, there are some simple measures to take. But whenever possible, get an expert for plumbing work or repairs.
REDUCE THE CHANCE OF FROZEN PIPES
Follow these steps to reduce the chance of pipes freezing during a power failure:
Unlike summer homes and cottages, modern housing is not usually designed for easy winterization. For this reason, you should contact a plumber or other expert if the house will be without heat for an extended period of time. Critical measures include: draining of toilets, water softening units, drain traps, sump pumps, heaters, humidifiers, dishwashers and other appliances that use water.
WHEN PIPES FREEZE
Under normal circumstances, most of us never have to worry about a frozen water pipe. Our plumbing pipes are on interior walls and are insulated well enough that water does not freeze. But frozen pipes may become a concern if the heat is off or if water pipes run through unheated crawl spaces, floors over garages or in outside walls.
If pipes do freeze:
If pipes have burst before you could take preventive action, immediately turn off their water supply. Try to locate the areas that need repair and call a plumber.
The long-term solution for frozen pipes is to provide adequate insulation and heat. Methods may include wrapping pipes with insulation material and installing weather stripping, insulation and heat to the room. A temporary or last resort solution is the use of electric heating tape, which can be wrapped around the pipes and energized when sub-zero weather is predicted. You can also leave faucets connected to exposed pipes trickling when low temperatures are forecasted. If the pipes are under an enclosed sink, open the door and use a fan to blow warm air from the room toward the pipes.