How to Protect Your Home from Frozen Pipes

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The power outages have many plumbers working overtime, trying to meet a big demand for people worried about frozen pipes.

With temperatures dropping into the teens overnight, many are concerned the pipes could burst, if it gets too cold inside. Says Dan Boles of Michigan Plumbing, "If it gets below 32 obviously, it won't take very long at all. Because once water is frozen, it just kind of freezes the rest of it."

Frozen water will create leaky pipes. Pipes that will burst upon a thaw. For people without electricity, it's tough to keep the pipes warm. Boles says he's taking a lot of phone calls from concerned customers, who need help. "We're giving them a couple of options. One is, we will recommend to leave their faucet running because typically, moving water doesn't freeze. And, or if they can, and they're not going to be in the house, to winterize their house by draining the water out of their system and making sure that all the water is out of the pipes." Boles says, if you choose to turn off your water, it's best to let a professional do it.

If you have an electric sump pump, warmer temperatures could mean a flood in the basement. Boles says, "The fix for that at this point would be a water powered back up pump and what that's going to do is it's going to use the city water and it will pull water out of the basement and pump it out into the normal drain of the sump pump."
While you're thinking about it, now is a good time to know where your water main is located. If a pipe does burst, you'll know where to go to shut off the water.