Below freezing temps can lead to burst pipes

Below freezing temps can lead to burst pipes

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As soon as temps fall below freezing, you're at risk for a burst pipe. As soon as temps fall below freezing, you're at risk for a burst pipe.
"It has to be down there in teens before we see a big problem," explained Scott Robinson, owner of Scott's Plumbing. "It has to be down there in teens before we see a big problem," explained Scott Robinson, owner of Scott's Plumbing.
You should run the water on faucets that are near exterior walls, and if it's a double faucet, you need to run water from both sides. You should run the water on faucets that are near exterior walls, and if it's a double faucet, you need to run water from both sides.
Robinson said you should then take a look at your water hose. Robinson said you should then take a look at your water hose.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Temperatures could drop into the single digits early next week, and those chilly temps could wreak havoc on your home.

Below freezing temps mean a busy season for plumbers in East Tennessee. 6 News wanted to ensure you know how to protect your home from the cold weather.

"It has to be down there in teens before we see a big problem," explained Scott Robinson, owner of Scott's Plumbing.

As soon as temps fall below freezing, you're at risk for a burst pipe.

"Particularly outside walls like this kitchen sink on a north wall, with no sunshine, that's where we see water lines frozen under the wall cavity," explained Robinson.

Robinson said being aware of some key tips will save you money and hassle.

"You want to keep the faucet running. Moving water won't freeze, so you need just enough water," he said.

You should run the water on faucets that are near exterior walls, and if it's a double faucet, you need to run water from both sides.

"Also if you leave the cabinet doors open, the heat can get under there and protect those pipes," he added.

On the outside of your home, you need to keep the cold air out.

"The foundation vents need to be sealed up in the wintertime so that cold air can't be whistling under the house and freezing water lines," he explained.

Robinson found an open vent at the home we were visiting in West Knoxville.

"This one is wide open, so he'll want to get in there in fix that," he said.

That also goes for crawl spaces or cracks in your home. You'll want to seal up any spots where air can enter.

Robinson said you should then take a look at your water hose.

"He's got his hose disconnected which is good, but you see there's a little drip because there's an icicle that's formed here," he observed. "They make little Styrofoam boxes you can put over this."

What if you forget these tips and the pipes freeze?

Robinson explains you won't know you have a problem until the pipes thaw.

"You can take a blow dryer or put an electric heater next to the pipe to slowly thaw them out. Just don't use any open flame," he advised.

If a pipe bursts, you need to know where the water valve is to prevent any further damage.

"Know how to shut your water off, that's the number one thing," Robinson advised. "But hopefully you can prevent that, they say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure."

Some other helpful tips:

  • Insulate pipes in the attic and crawl space.
  • Set your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees.
  • Consider a leak alarm or automatic water shut off system.
  • Avoid cold air from entering through the garage by keeping the door closed.
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