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Utility: Protecting plumbing from freezing weather can save thousands

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) -

With winter weather comes the need for taking precautions to protect plumbing, and local utilities are urging residents to do so before freezing temperatures do major damage.

One of the most common pieces of advice is to leave a small stream of water flowing from both an inside and outside faucet. But if that keeps pipes from freezing to the point of bursting, it is money well spent, according to Dionna Ebeling, spokesperson for Mount Pleasant Waterworks.

"Ten gallons of water cost less than 10 cents, repairing a leak and the subsequent damage could cost thousands," Ebeling said in a statement.

Here are suggestions to protect water pipes from freezing weather:

  • Leave a pencil-lead-thin stream of water flowing from an outside and inside faucet. Ten gallons of water cost less than 10 cents, repairing a leak and the subsequent damage could cost thousands.
  • Insulate all exposed pipes and enclose crawl spaces.
  • Plug up drafty cracks and repair broken window panes.
  • Remove hoses from outside faucets and be sure faucets are drained and shut off (except the one faucet left dripping).
  • Locate the shut off valve at your home or business in case a frozen pipe burst. (Visit http://www.mountpleasantwaterworks.com/eduvideo.cfm for an educational video on your home's water shut off valve.)
  • Keep meter box lids closed.
  • If you are experiencing a power outage, minimize the use of the wastewater system.

For those with a tankless water heater, Mount Pleasant Waterworks suggests:

  • Refer to your tankless water heater's manufacturer to verify the lowest temperatures your system can withstand without freezing.
  • Consider buying a water heater blanket to protect your system from freezing.
  • Contact your plumber to ensure that your system is properly protected.

If you are likely to be out of town during a period of freezing weather:

  • Turn off your water heater at the electric breaker panel.
  • Turn off your water at either the shut off valve or at the water meter.
  • Open a faucet in the house to let air into the pipes to allow the ice expansion to prevent pipe breaks.

And for those with above-ground backflow devices, Mount Pleasant Waterworks suggests:

  • You can find a variety of insulated covers at most lawn and garden or landscape supply stores.
  • Or, simply wrap your device with insulation and tape. Backflow devices are equipped with valves directly on the unit. Locate the valves are so you can turn off the water off.

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