How-To: Prevent Frozen, Cracked Pipes in Your Home

Five easy steps to keeping your pipes safe from cracking this winter

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012  |  Updated 3:13 PM EDT
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How-To: Prevent Frozen, Cracked Pipes in Your Home

NBCPhiladelphia.com

Preventing frozen pipes will save you money and headaches in the long run.

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This article is sponsored by Michael and Son, the leading full-service plumbing, electrical, HVAC and remodeling company serving the Washington D.C. area for over 30 years. Learn more about Michael and Son at MichaelandSon.com.

As D.C. residents, we're all accustomed to erratic winter temperatures. One day it's unseasonable balmy, the next we're suffering from a sub zero arctic blast. 

Which means that just because it's been a mild winter doesn't mean we're safe from frozen pipes. According to the Weather Cannel, just a dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit is all it takes for pipes to ice up, crack and cause major damage to your home. 
 
Luckily, Michael & Son have a few simple preventive measures home owners can take to decrease the chances of burst pipes and leaks. Follow these five easy steps and you'll be sitting by the fireside, worry free. 
 
Purchase a pipe wrench and pliers
Available at hardware stores everywhere, a pipe wrench and set of pliers are the essential tools in any self-respecting handyman's belt. Use them for most repairs, just avoid stripping the nuts or bolts that keep your plumbing in place. 
 
Detach all garden hoses
As Punxsutawney Phil recently told us, there's still six more weeks of winter. That means you can hold off on manicuring your award-winning front lawn for a spell. Start by detaching all garden hoses, which can burst once water freezes and expands, then turn off all outside lines (simple if you have shut-off valves installed). 
 
Check your water heater
Just because you're still enjoying long hot showers doesn't mean your water heater is in perfect working condition. Make sure it's set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and have it flushed out to prevent sediment build up, which can cause corrosion. 
 
Keep the heat captured 
Pipes located in non heated areas like garages and basements are even more susceptible to freezing, so keep them insulated with heat tape or foam.
 
Leave the faucet on
Lastly, disregard your inner spendthrift and leave your warm water turned on to a slow drip when you're out of the house for a few days. If you don't, water can collect in the unused pipes and freeze. 
 
For those of us non DIYers who prefer the help of a professional, Michael and Son are just a phone call away. 
 
 
 

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