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Homeowners Without Heat Should Take Steps To Protect Pipes, Expert Advises

(File photo.  Credit: CBS)

(File photo. Credit: CBS)

Ian Bush Ian Bush
Ian Bush is an anchor, reporter, news editor, and technology editor&nb...
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By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As hundreds of thousands of people prepare to spend a third day without power, another concern is emerging: freezing and bursting pipes.

Things should be OK if your unheated house dips even as low as 35 degrees.   But water pipes face peril once temperatures get below freezing.

If your home still has no electricity, what can you do to protect your plumbing?

“Turn the water off at the main valve as it enters the house,” advises Aqua Pennsylvania president Steve Tagert, then go to the sink or laundry tub at your home’s lowest point and open both the hot and cold faucets.  “Then go through the house and open up all the spigots throughout the house, and let all of those drain down.”

If you fear a deep freeze, Tagert suggests pouring a little RV antifreeze (it’s bio-friendly) into your sink drains to keep the traps from freezing.

In addition, he adds, flush the toilets and bundle up the pipe where water enters your home, usually near the water meter, “so it’s well insulated and that piece doesn’t freeze.”

Once the weather gets back to normal, Tagert says,  reopen that main valve slowly while spigots remain open to bleed the air.  “Then they can turn them off and open the main valve the rest of the way.”

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