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To protect your pipes, prepare before the cold

Monday - 1/20/2014, 4:53pm  ET

Prepare for the cold

Max Smith, WTOP News

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WASHINGTON -- Now is the time to protect pipes against freezing and bursting inside homes and businesses. Prince George's County Fire/EMS has these tips after responding to more than 2,000 burst pipes during the next four days:

  • For normal plumbing, consider opening cabinet doors under sinks and in other places with pipes to allow the heat to get in.

  • If pipes are at risk of freezing, leaving a faucet on a slow drip can help since moving water will freeze more slowly than standing water does.

  • In an attic, garage or other area exposed to outside temperatures, ensure that all pipes are completely covered by insulation.

  • Consider leaving the entrance hatch or door to the attic open to allow more heat from the main part of the house to keep the pipes from freezing.

  • Be sure any hose connections or other outdoor taps are fully shut off and drained.

  • Double check that everyone in the family knows where the home's master water shut off valve(s) are just in case a pipe does burst. Sprinkler systems in homes and businesses may need extra care, including insulation near outside walls.

  • While concern about burst pipes is important, be sure to use safe heating practices to protect against the risk of fire from space heaters or CO poisoning.

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