Protect pipes in cold weather

Posted January 6, 2014 4:30 p.m. EST

Protect your plumbing during cold weather

Cold weather increases the likelihood for trouble with home water pipes. Here are some tips to help keep pipes from freezing:

- Have regular pipe maintenance done – at least once year.
- Regularly change filters around the house.
- Drip faucet so pipes don’t burst. (Drip only one faucet in the house. Choose one close to an exterior wall so pipes don’t freeze)
- Open cabinet doors where pipes are so they can feel the heat from the home.
- Turn off the outdoor sprinkler system.
- Detach the water hose from the outdoor faucet.
- Get an outdoor faucet protector. (An alternative is to wrap a rag around the faucet and secure it with tape)

If the pipes are already frozen, AAA suggests:
- If the faucet is turned on and nothing comes out, leave the faucets on and call a plumber.
- Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water.
- Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame. It could cause a fire.
- Pipes may be thawed using warm air from a hair dryer. Warm the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
- If water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house. Leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure family members know where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it.