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Home & Garden

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Keep pipes from freezing

When the first big winter storm hits, many people focus on prepping the outside of the home – shoveling snow, spreading salt, putting the winter tires on the car.

Now that the first snow has melted, it’s the perfect time to take preventive steps indoors. Freezing weather that lasts for days at a time can cause a variety of plumbing problems.

When pipes freeze, water in the pipes turns to ice and expands. The pressure causes cracks, whether the pipe is made of plastic, copper or steel. Even a tiny crack can unleash 250 gallons of water in a single day.

There are simple steps to take to prevent pipes from freezing and damaging structures when temperatures drop.

•Disconnect outside water hoses. If they are left connected during freezing temperatures, water in hoses will freeze and expand, causing connecting faucets and pipes to freeze and break.

•Inspect outside faucets. If they’re dripping or leaking, make the necessary repairs or call a plumber before a freeze.

•If your home is equipped with interior shut-off valves leading to outside faucets, close them and drain water from the pipes.

•Cover outside faucets using an inexpensive faucet insulation kit.

•Insulate pipes in unheated areas. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around exposed pipes.

•If your washing machine is in an unheated garage, turn off water supply lines leading to the washer and disconnect the hoses if temperatures are expected to drop below freezing.

•Keep furnace set no lower than 55 degrees.

– Roto-Rooter