Plumber explains how to keep pipes from freezing during cold weather

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Freezing temperatures overnight could lead to frozen pipes and, in turn, big problems for homeowners.

In fact, one insurance company reports Tennessee had the fourth highest number of frozen pipe claims in 2018, with the average claim costing around $19,000.

Max Dignowity  is a second-generation plumber who’s been in the business for around 30 years, so it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about protecting pipes during cold weather.

“You take water for granted until it’s frozen and gone,” he said.

Dignowity says your first step starts outside the house, and it’s one people often forget.

“Disconnect the water hose, you know from the hose bib. They make a little foam rubber box you can put on it,” he said. “Why is that so important? Because the hose will freeze, and it will go right up into the wall. This will freeze inside the house.”

Next, Dignowity says open the cabinet doors, especially those with faucets on the outside walls.

“That’ll let a little heat in. And run your hot and your cold water. You have to run it pretty good so the water won’t freeze.”

Your heard him, run both the hot and cold water. And contrary to popular belief, a little drip is not enough.

“I’ve seen drips on really cold nights freeze,” Dignowity said.

Finally, don’t close your vents in the rooms that you’re not using to try and save money on heating costs.

“You have to leave them open,” he said.

Along with doors, Dignowity says to keep circulation going.

Bottom line, he says you should prepare for the cold weather now so you don’t pay for it later.

“A little preventative maintenance will keep us out of your house. You don’t want the plumber coming, working on your house after they’re froze.”

Experts also say it’s important to learn where your main cutoff valve is for the water because, if your pipes do burst, you’ll need to shut it off.


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