Tips to prevent pipes from freezing

MINNEAPOLIS - When the temperatures dip to dangerous sub-zero levels, it's possible that pipes can freeze in your home.

Plumber Bill Blancke with Roto-Rooter of Minneapolis has fixed plenty of frozen pipes over the years.

"We see pipes that get a hard freeze, split the pipe and when it thaws out it floods the home," he said.

To prevent pipes from freezing, there are some things homeowners can do.

Pipes under sinks in some homes can get very cold. Sometimes a lack of insulation in an older home can be the cause. There's a simple way to warm them up. Open the cupboard door.

"If you leave those doors open, then the heat from the room can get in there," Blancke said.

If you have pipes that still seem to get cold, he said you can turn on both hot and cold water faucets and let the water run on a low trickle. He said it's tough for moving water to freeze.

Pipes that run near cold windows or drafts can be insulated, but Blancke said don't insulate them all the way around. He said let the pipe see the heat. If the cold is on just one side of the pipe, put insulation between the cold and the pipe and let the other side of the pipe be exposed to heat from the room.

He said it's also important to know how to shut the water off to your house in case a pipe does split.

He said shut off valves are on the water meter, which is usually located either by a home's hot water heater or on the side of the basement closest to the heat.

"You should have a shut off underneath the water meter and on top of the water meter," Blancke said.

Finally, even if you're going away on vacation, never turn your home's heat below 55 degrees.


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