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November 28, 2012 3:20 am
When pipes freeze, water pressure builds causing cracks, whether the pipe is made of plastic, copper or steel. Even a tiny crack can unleash 250 gallons of water in a single day. Cracked pipes are one thing, but the real problem comes when the pipes begin to unfreeze. If you're planning on traveling for the holiday season, take the proper steps to ensure your home's plumbing system will survive the cold and your house is protected from disaster.
• Make sure your furnace is set no lower than 55 degrees while you're away and throughout the winter to prevent pipes from freezing.
• Turn up the water heater slightly to retain hot water. Do not exceed 125°F.
• Insulate pipes in unheated areas. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around exposed pipes.
• You can shut off the washing machine water valve supply to save on your bill.
• There are several places you can check for leaks that will save water and in some cases prevent potential messes while away including a running toilet and appliance hoses.
• Install a flood detection device that works like a smoke detector setting off an alarm to warn your house-sitter of a potential flood or leak caused by bursting pipes.
If you have a house sitter, leave them instructions for turning off the main water supply to your home, should a problem arise.
Published with permission from RISMedia.
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