Tips for preventing frozen and burst pipes during the polar vortex

While the worst seems to be over this time around, it is a good time to remember to protect your pipes if there are prolonged cold temperatures.

The pipes and water meters in your home can freeze and burst quickly if temperatures are below freezing for a long time.

In addition to disrupting your water service, frozen pipes can cause massive damage and are expensive to repair.

Despite the fact that your community supplies your water, the pipes and meter in your home are your responsibility. If they freeze or burst, don’t call your town hall, call a licensed plumber.

Recently the Milwaukee Water Works shared some tips on how to protect your plumbing during the polar vortex.

Make sure that the heated air in your home can reach the pipes. For example, open the cabinet doors under your sink.

The pipes that are most susceptible to freezing are along the outer walls. Wrap them with insulation or heat tape. If possible, insulate the walls where the pipes are. Make sure the pipes are not resting against concrete walls and preventing air from circulating around them.

As every fall, make sure that the valves to your outdoor water supply are off and that you have drained the excess water from the taps.

You can also allow water to drip from the most vulnerable water sources. I know it’s a waste of fresh water, but in this case it is worth avoiding damage.

For the past few days, I’ve opened my cabinet doors under the sink, reopened the heater opening to my kitchen (which is usually off), and regularly ran a space heater for limited time near pipes in the basement to raise the temperature.

When it’s this cold there is a lot to think about, from keeping your car up and running to preventing frostbite, but don’t forget your pipes or they will remind you. And you don’t want that.

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