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Cold Weather and Water: Great for Skating, Bad for Pipes

One of the many advantages of living in the South is the temperate climate. While snow is rarely seen in the Midlands, we have our share of chilly temperatures during the winter months. In the past 10 years, Columbia’s average low in January is 34 degrees; in February, the average low is 39 degrees. Still, from November to March, the nights can be downright frosty. On those rare occasions when temperatures dip below freezing, local residents can be faced with an unusual threat, one that can be devastating: frozen pipes. Deep Freeze = Deep Trouble Below-freezing temperatures cause water to freeze mid-flow through your home’s pipes. This can lead to a burst pipe or leaking water line. The result? Water damage to ceilings, walls and floors and potential compromises of your home’s foundation. Septic tanks are also more likely to burst when the dirt is frozen. The professionals at Sincerely Yours will be there for remediation and restoration of areas damaged by water intrusion. To minimize the threat of bursting pipes during the colder months, we suggest the following precautionary measures.  Lower the temperature of your water heater to between 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This prevents a burst or leak and reduces heating costs between 6 to 10 percent.  Insulating your pipes pays multiple dividends: You’ll pay less for hot water, and it’s less likely that your pipes will freeze. During the insulation process, make sure to look in the basement, crawl spaces, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom counters. These spaces may have unheated water supply lines. Both hot and cold lines in these areas need insulation to maintain higher temperatures.  If you have a swimming pool, drain the water and the sprinkler supply lines by following the manufacturer’s instructions.  Open and disconnect the outdoor hose bibs and allow the water to drain completely, then close the indoor valves and keep the outdoor valve open. This allows the pipe to expand without bursting. Store the hose in the garage or backyard shed during the colder months.  Install pipe sleeves, heat tape, or a heat cable for prevention. To save money, use newspaper to keep the insulator dry.

 Keep the garage door closed as often as possible if supply lines are located in or around the area.  Remove harmful household chemicals and cleaning products from under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. Open those cabinets to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing underneath the counters.  Let the water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes when the weather is too cold. Don’t Be Left Out In The Cold Taking these precautions as winter approaches will prevent your winter wonderland from becoming a nightmare before Christmas. Should you fall victim to frozen water lines and bursting pipes, call on the professionals. Sincerely Yours, Inc. has been handling water damage emergencies since 1959 in the metropolitan Columbia area. We’ll be there for you, 24/7. Just give us a call.

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