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3 Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes

While winter snow can be a beautiful sight, cold temperatures can lead to unpleasant problems in a home's plumbing system. One of the most common issues during the winter comes in the form of frozen pipes.

Frozen pipes can cause plenty of hassle for you and your family. They can prevent you from taking a shower or even washing the dishes. Not only can they be terribly inconvenient, but they can also be rather costly to fix. It's fairly common for frozen pipes to eventually burst, which could cause water damage to walls, floors, ceilings and surrounding areas in your home. This year, instead of waiting for problems to arise, take the initiative, and make a little effort to protect your pipes from freezing in the first place.

Here are three easy tips to help winterize the pipes in your home’s plumbing:

Store outdoor items inside

As you prepare your yard and patio area for the cold winter ahead, be sure to disconnect appliances from the water supply. Whether it's a garden fountain, sprinkler system or hose, you should turn off the water flow for the winter to help protect your plumbing and prevent frozen pipes. To prep items like these for storage, rid them of water by using them one more time. Turn on the sprinklers, and run water through your hoses to ensure you've drained the last of it for the year. After you've done that, take this opportunity to clean these items. Odds are you've left them sitting outside since the weather got warmer, and they could probably use some attention. After you've drained and cleaned them, move them to a warm, dry space like a garage or shed until spring arrives and the weather breaks.

Insulate your pipes

Try adding a layer of insulation around your accessible water pipes this year, especially if they are near an exterior wall or in a colder part of your home (like in an unfinished basement, for instance or beneath a kitchen sink). It's going to be difficult to get to most pipes in your plumbing system, but at least get to the ones that are more exposed and easily accessible. This step is relatively easy to accomplish and shouldn't be very expensive, either. Do your best to cover as much as you can.

Leave your faucets dripping

Although it may be counterintuitive, allowing your interior faucets located along outside walls to drip water can actually go a long way in preventing your pipes from freezing. The water flow through the pipes, however small it may be, is enough to keep water running through your pipes smoothly. You only need to do this when the temperatures get down into the twenties or below.

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