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Plumber offers advice for preventing frozen pipes

This week’s sustained cold isn’t just putting pressure on residents: Plumbing throughout the region is also being taxed.

“We’ve gotten a bunch of calls for both burst pipes and frozen pipes,” said Mike Dollendorf, owner of Roy’s Plumbing in the Town of Tonawanda.

It’s what happens when the temperature gets this cold and frigid winds blow into the walls where there’s exposed plumbing. Damage can be extensive and expensive.

Dollendorf offered a few helpful hints at avoiding frozen pipes during cold snaps like these:

• Keep the temperature inside of your house warmer.

• Run a trickle of water from the hot and cold spigots of fixtures, especially the one with the “longest run” from the main water supply.

• Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let warmer air circulate.

• Remove outside hoses, shut off the water line to any outside faucets and then open it to drain any excess water.

If your pipes do freeze, Dollendorf advises shutting off the main water supply. If a pipe does burst, that limits the amount of water that can leak into the home.

Thawing frozen pipes should be done by supervising a shielded lit lightbulb, using a hair dryer or calling a licensed professional plumber with special equipment.

Dollendorf’s biggest advice of all when dealing with frozen pipes?

“Never, ever, ever use an open flame,” Dollendorf said.

– T.J. Pignataro