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Prevent freezing pipes with these tips

NOW: Prevent freezing pipes with these tips

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Subzero temperatures could mean frozen pipes and significant damage to your home.

Aqua America has given these tips to help you avoid freezing pipes.

Dan Lockwood with Aqua America says when temperatures drop low, it’s a good idea to leave a thin stream of water running from at least one tap from your home, preferably one that is furthest away from the meter.

Experts say you should have heat tape, pipe insulation, a portable space heater, and even a hairdryer on hand when it comes to freezing pipe prevention.

It is also recommended to wrap pipes with insulation material or heat tape and wrap indoor water meters with a blanket in unheated areas of your home make sure the lids on outdoor meter pits are not broken or missing.

Aqua America also reminds homeowners to shut off and drain faucets that are outside as well as lawn sprinkling systems.

It’s also important to mark the home’s master water valve to turn off your water if a pipe bursts.

If your pipes have frozen, James Olesen Operations Manager for Home Comfort Experts says typically you’re not going to realize it right away.

“What happens and how pipes leak the water actually freeze the water inside the pipes freeze and then as the water freezes it expands, therefore bursting the pipe,” Olesen explained.

Other than using a hairdryer to help thaw a frozen pipe, one of the best things a homeowner can do is call a professional once a pipe breaks.

Extreme temperatures can also cause other problems for homeowners.

Experts say cold temperatures make your furnace work harder than normal, which increases the probability that it can break down.

Olesen says a week like this is a great time to have a technician make sure your furnace is running safely and efficiently to avoid a malfunction.

He says cold temperatures can cause furnaces to run significantly longer cycles and can also cause more problems with furnaces overheating.

“Filters that haven’t been changed that usually run five-10 minute cycles are now running half hour 45 minute cycles causing more wear and tear and stress on the furnace. Everyone thinks that it’s just bad luck that a furnace breaks when it’s this cold out, but it’s because the furnace is running so much longer than it normally would.”

Because your furnace is working hard in these temperatures, Olsen says that every degree that you can set your thermostat back can save you two to four percent on your utility bills depending on your system and your home.

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