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Keep your water pipes warm during wintry weather

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Keep your water pipes warm during wintry weather

As winter’s grip tightens and January temperatures fall, it is important to take proper precautions for your home’s water pipes. This is important because water expands as it freezes, putting pressure on the pipes, which can cause them to break.

ProtectYourPipes.org, a collaborative initiative among water and wastewater utilities in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, offers helpful tips to keep your pipes warm, including:

  • Drip cold water in the faucet furthest from your main valve. Moving water keeps pipes from freezing.
  • Locate your shut-off valves in case of an emergency.
  • Insulate pipes in unheated areas.
  • Open cupboards and vanities to warm pipes.
  • Open outside spigots to allow water to drain.

In the event your home’s pipes do freeze, Denver Water recommends you take immediate steps or call a plumber to work promptly. Steps you can take immediately, as suggested by ProtectYourPipes.org, include:

  • Turn off the water at the main shut-off valve.
  • Open a faucet near the frozen pipe so that water will flow once the area is melted. This will help melt more ice.
  • Apply heat to or around the pipe using a hair dryer. Keep all sources of heat away from flammable materials and do not use any open flame devices. Do not use devices that will cause the melted ice to boil, as that can also cause pipes to break.
  • Check all pipes and joints for leaks or cracks.
  • Call a licensed plumber if you cannot locate the frozen section, if you are unable to reach it, or you are unable to thaw it.

AWWA has some additional tips for your consideration on its Caring for Pipes page.

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