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Keep your Pipes from Freezing with these Cold Weather Tips

Jan 28, 2014

When temperatures dip this low, frozen pipes are a frequent problem for homeowners.  

Credit YCUA

Jeff Castro is Director of the Ypsilanti Community Utilitites Authority.  He says it's good for homeowners to be aware of the danger.

 Castro says the pipes most likely to freeze are those running along an exterior wall, or near a window. In cold weather, water meters can freeze, too.     

The American Red Cross suggests taking preventative steps, such as keeping garage doors closed if there are water supply lines there, opening kitchen and bathroom doors to allow heat to circulate around the plumbing, and letting cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes.     

If you need to thaw pipes, the Red Cross suggests wrapping them with an electric heating pad, or apply heat using a hair dryer or portable space heater - so long as its kept away from flammable material.  Never use an open flame to attempt to thaw frozen water pipes.

 Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority adds the following tips: 

  • If a sink is against an outside wall, open the under-sink cabinet doors to allow the circulation of warm air from inside the home.
  • Locate the main water supply and water heater valves in case you need to access them quickly in an emergency.
  • Wind drafts during severe cold can increase the chance of pipes freezing. Near exterior walls, windows, and in crawl spaces, seal drafts and wrap pipes with insulation or heating tape.
  • Learn the location of your water meter and take the above precautions to keep it from freezing, especially if your meter is located in unheated basement or crawl space.
  • Consider keeping your basement heated and installing window weather stripping.
  • Shut off water supply valves if you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time.

In the event that you experience a burst pipe in your home and your main shut off is not working properly or you have trouble locating or closing it, please call YCUA at 484-4600.