Aluminum air pipes

Prepare Household Pipes Before Cold Conditions in Virginia

(WFXR) – Freezing temperatures can damage plumbing and burst pipes. It is important to winterize your home and take steps to prevent your pipes from freezing.

According to West Virginia Waters Authority, there are several ways to prevent pipes from bursting:

  • Allow a small amount of water to drip from your faucets to minimize the risk of the water freezing and the hose bursting under the pressure of the expanding ice.
  • Find and seal any air leaks that could allow cold air to reach your pipes.
  • Water pipes located next to an exterior wall, in a garage or other unheated building are often subject to cold temperatures. These pipes, as well as any exposed pipes, should be wrapped or insulated.
  • Remember to turn off and empty the outside faucets.
  • Open kitchen / bathroom cabinets to all hot air to circulate around the pipes below.
  • If your home has a crawl space, close all air vents in the foundation wall. This will prevent the pipes in the crawl space from being exposed to cold air.

Even if you take the necessary precautions, there is still a risk that your pipes will freeze.

What if your pipes end up freezing?

The Western Virginia Water Authority says you must turn on the cold water faucet closest to the frozen pipe to relieve pressure from the expanding ice that can cause a pipe to burst.

If you are trying to thaw a frozen pipe, the Western Virginia Water Authority recommends that you proceed with caution. The agency says you can use the gentle heat of a light bulb, room-temperature hair dryer, or heating tape to help thaw pipes. However, if the hose is already cracked from freezing, as the water thaws it may start to squirt. There may be a risk of electric shock if water sprays the electrical appliance you are using for defrosting. Never use a torch or other open flame to thaw frozen pipes.

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