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With extreme cold coming, how to keep your pipes from freezing

Subzero weather can put pipes at risk. Here are some suggestions to prevent that:
• Keep your house temperature at 68 degrees or higher, even if you’re leaving the house for an extended period of time.
• Open cabinet doors below sinks to allow heat from the home to circulate.
• Identify the location of the main water valve and the valve on your water heater. (Learning the location of these valves may come in handy during an emergency.)
• Disconnect all gardening hoses and install covers on all outside faucets.
• Wrap pipes nearest exterior walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or with heating tape. This can prevent freezing, especially for interior pipes that run along outside walls.
• Close all windows near water pipes; cover or close open-air vents. Freezing temperatures combined with wind drafts can cause pipes to freeze more frequently.
• Heat your basement and consider weather sealing your windows.
• Insulate outside walls and unheated areas of your home.
• If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, shut off water supply valves to your washing machine.
Monitor freezing pipe conditions:
• Check your faucets for water flow and pressure before you go to sleep and again when you wake up.
• Check pipes around your water meter, in unheated areas, near exterior walls and in crawl spaces.
• These tend to be vulnerable to freezing conditions.
• Identify cold air drafts coming in from a flue or chimney chase and caulk gaps that are near pipes.
• Allow a faucet to drip slightly (lukewarm water) in order to minimize freezing.
• The first sign of freezing is reduced water flow from a faucet.
If a pipe freezes:
• Thaw using a good hair dryer. (Avoid operating a hair dryer around standing water.)
• To thaw a frozen pipe, heat water on the stove, soak towels in the hot water and wrap them around cold sections of the pipes.
• Start thawing pipe nearest to the faucet. Make sure the faucet is turned on so that melted water can drip out.
If a pipe bursts:
• Shut off water at the main valve.
• If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve on top of the water heater should be closed.
• Call a plumber. Keep an emergency number nearby for quick access.

Source: Allstate Insurance

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