How to Keep Your Pipes from Bursting in Freezing Temps

By Steph Machado

Published 01/03 2014 10:03PM

Updated 01/03 2014 10:53PM

WILLISTON, Vt. - The deep freeze meant a busy day for plumbers Friday.

Roto-Rooter Plumbing was one of those responding to calls of burst pipes all day.

They even headed to a call at Sugarbush Resort.

Owner Craige Ohlstein says a pipe froze at one of the resort's bars after a hole let cold air inside.

Ohlstein says at these temperatures, people need to keep their cabinet doors open under the sink to let warm air circulate.

They should also keep the bathroom doors open if there isn't a heater in that room. Ohlstein says one house he responded to Friday had temperatures of -4 degrees in the bathroom because they kept the door closed and had a window cracked open.

Ohlstein also says to consider leaving the faucet running somewhere between a drip and a stream, because it's harder for water to freeze when it's moving.

"The pressure comes from behind the ice and pushes on the pipe," Ohlstein explained. "And since copper is kind of soft, you split the pipe. But you don't notice the break until it starts thawing out and you have water going everywhere, and by that time it's way too late."

Burst pipes aren't just inconvenient; they can be dangerous. Ohlstein says basements can flood, water can re-freeze or the flooding could cause the electricity and heat to turn off.

So, he says to keep the heat on around 70 degrees and don't turn it down when you leave the house--it may cost more money, but it will be worth it in the long run.

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