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Helpful Winter Tips

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Dear Neighbor,

Happy New Year. I hope you are staying warm during this harshly cold weather we’re experiencing in Minnesota. I was recently contacted by a plumber who provided me with some tips on preventing and thawing frozen pipes. This is an unusual thing to put in an e-mail update, but I thought you might find this helpful. Here is what he suggests:

1. Don't leave your pipes frozen and just wait for them to thaw.

Frozen pipes can expand and crack, which will cause water damage when they thaw.  Getting them thawed as quickly as possible reduces the chances of breaks.  Breaks sometimes are in areas that are not exposed or accessible so more repairs have to be done to access the pipes to repair them.

2. Get heat to them as quickly as possible.

If there is a cabinet, open the doors.  Place space heaters in front of area or walls that contain frozen pipes to heat them up so they start thawing.  Increase the heat in your house.  Keep faucets open while thawing the pipes.

3. Don’t let your pipes freeze

Preventing your pipes from freezing is better than thawing after they freeze. When temperatures are less than 10 degrees: On faucets that are against an outside wall, you want to leave a small trickle of WARM water running to keep the pipes warm. At least the trickle size of a wooden match stick. Too little can freeze in your drain pipes.  Periodically run lots of hot water.  If you don't have any faucets on the outside wall and the temperatures are really low, and you have more than one level to your home, leave one faucet on the top level and one on the bottom level trickling. Or at the very least, leave a faucet trickling in your home somewhere. Anytime the temperatures are below freezing: Open the doors to the vanity or sink below the faucets and turn up your house heat a few degrees if you keep it low.

When the wind is blowing in the cold of winter it increases the chances of pipes freezing. If your pipes have never froze before that doesn't mean they won't. Houses get very fine hairline cracks in the foundation that will allow the extremely cold air to filter in and cause freezing. If you are unfortunate enough to have your pipes freeze, don't leave them frozen and wait for temperatures to rise. Frozen pipes can expand and crack, which will cause water damage when they thaw.

As, always, I’m interested in your feedback. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail at Rep.Peggy.Scott@House.MN or contact my office at 651-296-4231. You can also send me mail to my office address: 201 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.