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Preventing Frozen Pipes In Your Home This Winter

If you’ve ever seen a can of soda freeze and burst, you know how much pressure forming ice can create in an enclosed space. When a pipe freezes and bursts, it can cause major damage to your home. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are most susceptible to freezing, particularly if there are gaps that allow freezing, outside air to flow over the pipes. the Building Research Council at the University of Illinois tested home plumbing systems and demonstrated that, for un-insulated pipes installed in an unheated attic, freezing happens when the outside temperature falls to 20°F or below.

Pipes that may be prone to freezing and that are accessible can be fitted with insulation sleeves or wrapping to slow the transfer of heat. It’s important not to leave gaps that expose the pipe to cold air. Cracks and gaps in outside walls near water pipes should be sealed to keep cold air away from the pipes.

Because kitchen and bathroom cabinets can prevent heat from reaching pipes under sinks and near outside walls, keeping cabinet doors open during cold spells will let the warm indoor air to circulate around the pipes.

During extreme cold, letting faucets run slowly can lessen the risk of bursting pipe. The water in the pipe may still freeze, but the pressure on the pipe will be lessened.

If your leaving home for an extended period during the cold winter weather, consider draining water from the pipes. Also, remember not to leave your thermostat set too low.

What to do if you have a frozen pipe

If you open a faucet and the water isn’t flowing, don’t take chances, call ABC. If a water pipe bursts, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve. Leave the affected faucet(s) open until a plumber has inspected the pipes to ensure there is no damage. Never attempt to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame like a candle or propane torch – as this will damage the pipe and is a fire hazard.

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  • “After a long day on a Friday (first snow of the year - lots of customers without heat), Dion L came to perform routine furnace inspection and filter change. Dion was courteous, efficient, informed us of all that he was doing, showed us an area of concern and how we…”

  • “Ron S., fixed an electrical short in the attic, which prevented a fire. He rewired the attic thru the bedroom ceiling light. He replaced an outside electrical connection, and repaired my ceiling fan. The attic wiring was very crazy. He did an outstanding job figuring it out and fixing the…”

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  • “Paul B. serviced my furnace yesterday with an inspection and cleaning. He didn't stop there though, I had purchased a new filter for my humidifier on the furnace and he replaced that for me, showed me how to do it in the future and explained how to adjust the humidity…”

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