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Preventing frozen pipes when temperatures plunge

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Posted on: February 19, 2015

BY REBECCA BENNETT AND SUSIE CURRIE — Plunging temperatures have recently led to frozen or burst pipes for some Hyattsville residents. Homeowners who couldn’t get on a plumber’s short list had to resort to creative pipe-thawing solutions, such as heating pads, hair dryers, and in at least one case, simply turning up the thermostat in the hopes that heat would transfer through the walls to the pipes. That solution worked.

Dean from Dean’s Right Time Plumbing wrote, “One way to try to avoid a frozen pipe in your house  is to allow the cold water in a faucet as far away from the main water line to drip or lightly trickle. You can always put a bucket under the drip to catch the water and use it elsewhere. The moving water is a lot less likely to freeze.”  Dean also suggested heat tape as another option.

Prince George’s County Fire and Rescue Spokesperson Mark Brady gave some other tips for preventing frozen pipes:

The best way to protect a residential fire sprinkler system and plumbing pipes from freezing is to provide sufficient insulation and maintain adequate heat during the winter months.   Insulation helps block the flow of heat or cold from one space to the next. Most plumbing pipes are within the walls or ceilings of a home. Cold air can enter these concealed spaces through small gaps in the exterior sheathing and insulation and find its way into pipe chases and soffits that focus the air directly onto the piping and accelerate freezing.

Under cabinet plumbing in your bathrooms and kitchen, especially if they are located up against an exterior wall, can freeze.  Keep the cabinet doors open so heat from your house will circulate through the cabinets.  Leaving the faucet open just a trickle will also help to prevent freezing plumbing pipes.

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