Precautions — There are a few things residents can do to prevent pipes from freezing, bursting

With the recent, and perhaps subsiding, freezing temperatures, burst water pipes have been an issue of late.

Bob Hampton, with Hampton Plumbing said in the past few days he’s had more than 60 calls for assistance. Hoping to prevent further damage, there are a few things he said residents can do to protect their pipes.

Hampton said newer homes are typically well insulated and the pipes are installed properly, so trouble often comes from outdoors.

“Garden hoses left connected are always a breaking point,” he said. “Hoses need to be taken off before it freezes. If you don’t the damage is already done.”

Garages are another area where pipes burst when temperatures plunge.

“On a lot of houses, the garage may have a separate shut off. It should be noticeable,” Hampton said. “It needs to be shut off and (you will need to) open up and drain at the valve and faucet.”

He said just shutting off the water won’t cut it. Water already inside the pipes can still freeze and cause damage. This rule goes for any pipes being shut off. They will all need to be drained.

“It’ll save heartache later,” he said.

For those with foundation vents close to plumbing, in the bathroom or kitchen typically, they need to be covered.

“If you can’t get insulation covers, stuff with newspaper or something. Cold air blows on the pipes and freezes them solid,” Hampton said.

Some people might have pump houses they need to worry about as well.

“They need to put some heat inside there. Heat lamps are not always enough,” he said. “Make sure the whole pump house is heated because that’s one of worst things we have to deal with.”

He said for those people who have specific pipes or faucets that have given them trouble in the past, or are worried about, keeping a little water running is a good idea.

“But it has to be at the specific location (such as a bathroom sink), just somewhere in the house won’t help,” Hampton said.

Hampton’s last tip is for houses or apartments that aren’t well insulated.

“It helps a little bit to keep cabinets open,” he said. “If you open (the cabinet) and notice it’s cold, keep the cabinet open to get a little heat under there.”

And for anyone planning to be gone for a while, visiting family for the holidays for example, Hampton recommends shutting off the water before leaving.

“To make sure you’re not coming back to a real mess,” he said.

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