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Protecting the pipes in your home in the bitter cold

Plumbers are warning that the bitter cold can burst the pipes in your home, costing homeowners thousands of dollars in damage.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Plumbers are warning that the bitter cold can burst the pipes in your home, costing homeowners thousands of dollars in damage.

During a typical winter, Charles Plumbing and Heating responds to more than a dozen calls a day for frozen pipes.

“It usually takes at least 24 hours for the real cold to set in and start affecting the plumbing system,” explained David Picarel with Charles Plumbing and Heating in Liverpool.

In the meantime, you can take some precautions to protect your pipes, such as turning off your outdoor faucets and by insulating your water lines in unheated areas of your home, like the garage or attic.

Another tip: If your sink is on an exterior wall, let the faucet drip to keep the pipes from freezing. Also keep your vanities or cabinets open, so the warm air from you home can heat up the pipes under the sink.

If your pipes freeze you run the risk of them bursting. "It could be a matter of just a few hours, depending on the thickness of that copper (pipe), it could cause a split," said Picarel.

There are some home remedies, too, like using a blowdryer or space heater to thaw out frozen pipes.

If your pipes do burst, immediately shut off your water line into your house. In the end, these small steps could prevent a big mess.

Plumbers say you should never try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame. For more information on how to protect your home during a cold snap, CLICK HERE.
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