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Tips to prevent your pipes from freezing or bursting

Published: Jan. 15, 2022 at 7:22 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 15, 2022 at 8:04 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s cold enough to freeze boiling water in mid-air, which means the water in your pipes could, too.

“Keeping an eye on those cold areas is really important when you have pipes exposed to the elements,” said Matt Cota, executive director of the Vermont’s Fuel Dealer’s Association.

As our region is slammed with another particularly cold event, Cota says pipes freezing and eventually bursting are keeping plumbers, fuel dealers, and water mitigators busy responding to hundreds of calls a day.

Monica Chapman of PuroClean, a local water restoration service, says you can try to prevent pipes from freezing by closing your windows, opening kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and letting your faucets trickle overnight, as long as you don’t have a septic tank.

“You need to keep your heat at least at 65 degrees, and I would suggest to keep all the doors open. Tonight is not the night to try to save money on heat,” says Chapman.

Chapman also suggests keeping your eyes open for signs the temperature has dropped in your home. “If you can see your breath in your house, it’s a big red flag. A lot of times you’ll see frost on the pipes, which is extremely concerning -- you should be extremely concerned. If you turn the faucets on and it seems a little weird, like the water isn’t coming though or its unevenly coming through or its tracking through, you might have a big problem,” said Chapman.

Cota adds if you catch a cold pipe early you could first take matters into your own hands. “The simplest way to solve it is if you warm up those pipes. Make sure the heating system is working, making sure that water is flowing,” said Cota.

If you’re concerned about your pipes, you can touch and see if they’re cold or not in one spot. If they are, you can use a hair dryer to help thaw this ice, but you should never use an open flame.

“Just be safe and smart. Room heaters work, too, but ideally you would have a plumber come out,” said Chapman.

And if your pipes do freeze over, both experts say you should shut the water main off immediately and seek help.

“Be proactive to make sure the pipes don’t freeze that’s great, but call a professional because that’s what we’re here for,” said Cota.

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