These tips can help |

These tips can help

Tribune staff report

Tips to help safeguard your home before, during and after a pipe freezes.

provided by Allstate Insurance Company

Preventing your pipes from freezing

n Disconnect all gardening hoses, shut off the water supply to outside faucets and install covers on outside faucets. The covers are inexpensive and can be purchased at hardware stores.

n Wrap pipes that are near your home’s exterior walls with insulation or heating tape.

n Identify the location of the main water valve and the valve on your water heater so that, if necessary, you can turn them off quickly and easily.

n Close all windows near water pipes and cover or close open air vents. Freezing temperatures and wind drafts can cause pipes to freeze more frequently.

n Insulate outside walls and unheated areas of your home.

n Sufficiently heat your basement and consider weather sealing your windows.

n Keep the temperature of your home at 68 degrees.

n Open sink cabinet doors to allow heat from the home to enter. Pipes under the sink are particularly vulnerable.

n If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, shut off the water supply valve to your washing machine. Arrange to have someone check your pipes and the temperature inside your home while you’re away.

n Monitor the water flow from your faucets. Reduced flow could indicate early freezing. During particularly cold temperatures, allow faucets to drip lukewarm water to reduce the risk of freezing.

If your pipes freeze

Shut off the main water valve.

Open all faucets to relieve pressure in the pipes.

Wrap warm rags around cold sections of pipe or pour hot water on pipes. An inside faucet or pipe also can be thawed with a good hair dryer, but don’t use the dryer around standing water, and don’t use a blow torch.

When thawing a pipe, start thawing nearest to the faucet. Make sure the faucet is on so that melted water can drip out.

If your pipes burst

Immediately shut off the main water valve.

If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve on top of the water heater should be closed.

Call a plumber. Keep an emergency number nearby for quick access.

Call your insurance agent to report the damage.

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