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How to prevent your pipes from freezing as temperatures drop

How to prevent your pipes from freezing as temperatures drop

TRI-CITIES, Wash. – As the region is expecting freezing temperatures this week, plumbers and restoration workers are warning folks to keep an eye on your pipes because if they freeze you could have a real mess on your hands.

Plumbers and restoration workers told Action News last winter was a disaster for so many people. They had to work around the clock, pulling 18-hour days trying to get to all the influx of calls.

This winter they're offering some simple advice to help you avoid the headache later.

"Mother nature makes no qualms of who you are,” said Rory Pendergist, estimator at First Choice Restoration. “With freezing temperatures – unless you’re extremely vigilant and extremely careful – you can become a victim of it."

Winter weather can wreak havoc on a house in many ways, but Pendergist said the worst-case scenario is frozen pipes.

"When they're frozen you don't really notice it because the water is not moving in them,” he explained. “But once they start thawing, water can flow beyond the ice blockage and tear through the break – it's catastrophic."

Plumbers said there are several ways to prevent this problem.

"The quickest, easiest thing is to take your hose bibs off your hose faucets on the outside of your house,” said Sean Doncaster, owner of Precision Plumbing. “Otherwise, we'll see you in the spring."

Doncaster said leaving the hose on is the most common mistake he sees. It doesn’t allow the water to drain, making it easy to freeze.

"A lot of the times those [hose faucets] are above floor, and when they fail they'll usually take a living room with it," he said.

Experts said if you're in an older home or a home that’s not well insulated, it's important to keep your thermostat up.

"I've seen people turn their thermostats down to 65 or 67, but if you get subzero degree weather, you have to think you only have 4 inches between that and chaos," Doncaster said.

If your home has a crawl space, he said to be sure to close the vents, and use Styrofoam to keep them insulated.

Open cabinet doors under sinks so heat can warm up the pipes.

If you anticipate a freeze – experts said to let your faucets drip.

"As long as water is moving at a decent pace, it’s not going to freeze," Pendergist said.

However, if this winter is anything like last year, Pendergist said they're geared up and ready to help.

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