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Avoid This Plumbing Disaster With a Few Simple Steps

Thermostat at 72 degrees? Check. Holiday decorations decking the halls? Check. Slippers, blankets, and cup of tea? Check, check, and check.

Could anything possibly go wrong with this cozy scene? We hate to break it to you, but if you haven't winterized your plumbing system, the answer is most definitely yes.

Right behind frostbite, frozen pipes are the last thing any homeowner wants to deal with this winter. Not only can they wreak havoc on your plumbing system, but they can also burst and cause costly water damage, meaning you'll spend that Christmas bonus on emergency plumbing services for your Bucks County home.

If you think that sounds like a miserable way to spend the holidays, prevent frozen pipes by taking the following steps:

Insulate pipes. There are two ways to do this: One is to insulate the exterior of your house, particularly in basements and attics, which are less likely to be insulated and more likely to hold exposed pipes. The other is to insulate the pipes directly with heat tape or heat cable, which is a relatively inexpensive DIY project. We recommend doing both.

Seal leaks and circulate warm air. Openings that let cold air in near pipes increase the potential of freezing. Be sure to seal any leaks and drafts with caulk or another sealing and insulating material. While you're at it, if your garage houses water supply lines, keep the garage doors closed, and open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to keep warm air circulating around pipes.

Be smart about your thermostat. You might balk at the idea of keeping your thermostat on throughout the night, with visions of heating bills dancing through your head. But if your home temperature drops too drastically, those visions might turn into genuine plumbing nightmares. Keep your thermostat above 55 degrees Fahrenheit at all times to prevent frozen pipes – especially if you plan on going on vacation. (Now's a good time to get your heating system inspected, too.)

Mind the tap. During cold snaps – i.e., when temperatures fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit – let cold water drip from any faucets that are served by exposed pipes. Allowing water to trickle through the pipe, instead of standing still, will help prevent it from freezing within the pipe.

But What If My Pipes Are Already Frozen?

If you see a layer of frost on exposed pipes, have trouble running faucets, or notice unusual odors from your drains, your pipes may be frozen. If that's the case, call Ben Franklin Doylestown at (215) 712-8650 for emergency services in New Hope, PA, and the rest of the Doylestown area. We are available for your emergency plumbing needs, so act quickly to prevent the problem from worsening and get your home back into the cozy shape it deserves to be in.

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