Liz Crenshaw's Guide to Consumer Issues, Recalls and More

Shoveling Sidewalk Laws & Freezing Pipe Advice

By Liz Crenshaw and Katie Roberts
|  Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013  |  Updated 3:48 PM EDT
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Cold Weather Tips

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Many jurisdictions require that you shovel that public sidewalk outside your house just hours after the snow has stopped falling.

Here are the rules region by region when it comes to clearing your sidewalks:

Loudoun County: Shortest deadline for Loudoun folks. Residents are required to shovel public sidewalks of snow and ice within six hours after the snow has stopped falling.

D.C.: Residents are required to clear public sidewalks of snow within eight hours following the end a snow storm.

Arlington County, Prince George's County and Montgomery County: Residents all have a little longer: up to 24 hours to remove snow from public sidewalks adjacent to their property.

Fairfax County and Prince William County: There's no law requiring homeowners to shovel sidewalks, but both counties do recommend that people shovel sidewalks for safety.

Freezing temperatures can also mean frozen pipes. JH Peterson Plumbing says frozen pipes can cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage in just minutes. So prevention now can really save you in the long run.

During cold spells, identify any pipes that might be at risk like pipes along outside walls, in crawl spaces and attics. To let warm air circulate around your pipes, open cabinet doors like the one below your kitchen sink and any vanity doors in your bathroom near those pipes.

With those at risk pipes, keep a small trickle of both hot and cold water running during super cold nights. Also, be sure to keep your house warm (no lower than 60 degrees) even if you're not home.
 

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