Plumbing experts offer advice to avoid frozen pipes in frigid temps

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Keep those sinks trickling.

As winter temps continue to drop, calls for plumbers go up. Not taking care of the water lines inside your home could land you with property damage.

“We see a large significant increase in calls,” said Pearson Plumbing, Heating and Pest Control vice president of plumbing mechanical services Michael Letsinger. “When the weather gets down below freezing with wind chills below zero.”

Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 23 business agent Ryan Marshall says a few tips can save you from having to call a plumber, adding keeping the water moving inside the pipes makes them less likely to freeze.

“It wouldn’t be a bad idea to run the faucets and flush toilets once a day also,” said Marshall. “Just keep the water flowing to make sure they’re not frozen.”

It’s also crucial to keep cabinets open, even if the heating system is running inside your home.

“Basically it’s blocking the warm air from getting in there,” said Letsinger. “Most of your frozen pipes will happen underneath the kitchen sink because they’re in outside walls. They’re more susceptible to the freezing temperatures when the wind is blowing.”

Letsinger says frozen pipes, if found early, can be saved. The lines should be thawed with a heat gun, hair dryer or space heater.

“If you open the faucet just a little bit and heated up then, basically as the ice melts it’ll spit and it’ll start running again,” said Letsinger.

But if it’s too late and you find yourself with a split pipe, shut off the water immediately and call a contractor.

“This is a ball valve,” said Marshall. “This is what you would find inside your home, where your water comes into your home. This pipe you will find into your basement, or in a mechanical closet or room.”

Experts say preventative measures will spare your bank account in the end.

“Now isn’t the time to save money and turn your thermostat down at night,” said Marshall. “You may want to keep it at a normal level temperature. I wouldn’t want to go any lower than 55 degrees.”

If you plan on going out of town during the frigid temps, experts recommend shutting the water off completely and keeping the thermostat running.

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