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KEEP YOUR PIPES FROM FREEZING THIS WINTER

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Cold weather has arrived and that can mean frozen pipes, and huge repair bills.

Officials says there are steps people can take to keep their home water pipes from freezing this winter.

Frozen water lines typically occur in unprotected areas such as crawl spaces or along the outside walls where plumbing can more vulnerable to the elements.

To prevent frozen pipes, the following winterization tips are suggested:

Search your house for un-insulated pipes, especially in unheated areas. Check attics, crawl spaces, and outside walls. Consider wrapping pipes with insulation sleeves. Another option is electric heating tape, but follow manufacturers’ instructions carefully to avoid a fire hazard.

Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations with caulking to keep cold air away from pipes, especially where cable TV or phone lines enter the house.

When below-freezing temperatures occur, keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets that are supplied by pipes running through an unheated or unprotected space to keep the water from freezing, and keep kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.

• Make sure you disconnect and drain garden hoses if you have not done so already.

Drain and shut off entirely the water to any unoccupied residence such as a summer or vacation home. A loss of power during a winter storm could cause pipes to freeze.

Set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees if you’re going out of town. Although you may be able to get away with a lower temperature, this setting is considered to be safe for pipes.

Make sure you know where your main water shut-off valve is located inside your home so that you can shut off your water quickly in the event of a water pipe leak. This valve is often located in a utility room or closet or in the basement.

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