Plumbing problems can occur at any time, but during the winter months you’re more apt to experience ice cold showers, leakage, freezing pipes and flooding. One of the most severe problems that occurs this time of year is frozen or burst pipes, often with devastating results, e.g. flooding inside your home.

Be prepared for the emergencies with these helpful tips.

  • Insulate your plumbing pipes against freezing.
  • Keep the interior doors of your home all open. This helps heat circulate through your entire home.
  • If temperatures are expected to drop overnight, let the warm water drip, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall. Even a trickle of hot and cold water can prevent your pipes from freezing.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
  • If you’re going out of town during the cold winter months, before you leave set the thermostat in your home no lower than 55F (12C) and ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it’s warm enough to prevent freezing.

Here are some tips for dealing with plumbing emergencies:

  • If you have a frozen pipe, turn off the main water supply by using the stop valve. This valve is usually located under the kitchen sink or outside of your home. Make sure to protect everything around the frozen pipe to avoid damage if it bursts. In this situation, the pipe needs to be thawed. This should not be attempted on your own…  It is always best to contact a professional plumber to handle this situation. Your plumber is equipped with specialty equipment just for this situation and can address any additional problems which may occur.
  • FACT: When water freezes in a pipe it expands and can exert pressure over 2,000 pounds per square inch, enough pressure to rupture most any pipe filled with water, providing no place for the ice to expand.
  • A burst pipe can definitely be classified as an emergency, having the potential to cause serious damage to your home’s structure and electrical wiring. Keep the emergency number of a trusted plumber handy. When an emergency occurs you don’t have time to start searching for a plumber. (HINT: Check ahead of time about pricing, some plumbers may charge high hourly rates for emergency services.)
  • When dealing with a burst pipe, turn off the water supply at the main valve. This may be located under the kitchen sink or outside your home. Next, drain the system by turning on all your cold taps and flushing your toilets. Get a plumber out to your house as soon as possible to fix the damage.

Remember plumbing problems can happen at any time but by being prepared you can prevent further damage to your home and save yourself an even bigger headache.

Sources: www.about.com
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