Avoid Frozen Water Pipe Problems

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Are you ready to spend $11,000 tonight?
That’s what State Farm says is the average cost of damage from frozen pipes in a home.
And with the forecast calling for very cold weather, now is the time to make sure you don’t have a big repair bill.
Jim Olson tagged along with a local plumber for tips on protecting your pipes.

When Wes Jansen shoulders his tool belt these days, there’s a good chance he’ll be dealing with water problems caused by frozen pipes.

(Wes Jansen, Ralph’s Plumbing) “We’ll get a lot of calls with stuff freezing up and…a lot of problems.”

But he showed me some ways you can reduce your chances of water damage. First up? Sinks located on outside walls.

(Wes Jansen, Ralph’s Plumbing) “You can feel a draft come up right through here. So these water pipes will freeze.”

You can open the cabinet doors to allow heat to reach the water lines. But you can also walk downstairs and attack the problem there.

(Wes Jansen, Ralph’s Plumbing) “Definitely a good idea to spray-foam it or do whatever you can to get something in there to try to seal up that gap.”

Wes says a good seal where the foundation meets the upper walls is critical to stopping cold air. Not far away, a potential problem in the laundry room.

(Wes Jansen, Ralph’s Plumbing) “We got the water lines to the washer and dryer and they’re strapped right to the concrete wall. This concrete wall is cold.”

Perhaps the most important thing is to make sure your furnace is working properly – often that means simply keeping the air filter fresh.
And speaking of the furnace – don’t give in to the temptation to turn your thermostat way down if you’re going to be gone a while.

(Wes Jansen, Ralph’s Plumbing) “Some people turn them off thinking they’ll save money and it costs them a lot more in the long run.”

And one last tip? Check outside too – and make sure you don’t have a garden hose still attached. 

(Wes Jansen, Ralph’s Plumbing) “If you leave the water turned on, it’ll break and will be spraying water on the outside of your house.”

That’s what happened in this case – leaving quite an ice sculpture for a homeowner to deal with. So take the time now to make sure your pipes – and your wallet – are protected against the winter chill. Jim Olson, KX News.

One more thing to remember is to go outside and look at your sewer vent on your roof. If there is ice buildup, get it cleaned to avoid a dangerous buildup of sewer gas in your home.

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