Cold Temperatures Causing Frozen Pipes

Cold Temperatures Causing Frozen Pipes

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Sam Penrod reportingWith the extended cold snap we've had, more pipes have frozen this winter than any time since 1996. It's a problem for most of us, but a windfall for plumbers.

A huge water main broke beneath South Temple Street today, making for a slushy drive.

But that's not the only pipe to freeze.

Kent Whipple/Whipple Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning: "This year we've had tons of frozen pipes."

Frozen pipes inside your home can really cause problems. So how can you keep them from freezing?

Kent Whipple: "Tha'ts one area that we get a lot of freezing is right there inside the kitchen cabinet."

Keep cabinet doors open and let warmer air inside.

Crawl spaces can get very cold when wind blows cold air through ventilation holes.

Kent Whipple: "In the winter shove some insulation into these holes to keep that cold air from coming in and keep the crawl space warm."

The best way to keep your pipes from freezing is to buy the insulated kind or wrap them with insulation.

But what if you already have a frozen pipe? First, shut off the main water line, usually at the front of the home and in line with the outside water meter.

Kent Whipple: "This is what the main shutoff for the house usually looks like. It's just a quarter turn ball valve and that's how you shut your pipes off in an emergency."

To thaw the frozen pipe, a plumber will use an electric resistance type heater that can be hooked to the pipe and quickly melt the ice block.

You can also wrap an electric heating pad around the pipe, apply heat with an electric hair dryer, or put a portable space heater near the frozen pipe.

Don't use a blow torch. The experts say it's just too dangerous, even though a lot of people do it.

Try to keep pipes warm, and it's a good idea to leave the water trickling if you suspect your pipes are vulnerable to the freezing cold.

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