Elevated homes could be more vulnerable to freezing pipes

Published: Jan. 21, 2014 at 11:23 PM EST
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FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - The wind mixed with freezing temperatures is bad news for pipes exposed to the cold.

Elevated homes line the shore of Folly Beach and many of them have pipes running underneath and along the side of walls.

"They're more susceptible to the elements to the wind and to the cold weather," said John Blitch, president of Blitch Plumbing.

Blitch's family has been in the plumbing business for 70 years now, but he says even for them, the last cold snap a couple of weeks ago was pretty hectic.

"When the temperature really dropped we received over 400 calls in a very short period of time whether it be from people's pipes being frozen or busting," said Blitch.

A lot of the homes on folly beach are rented vacation homes and are usually empty during colder months

Blitch said, "The best thing that could be done if for the water to be shut down whether it be your business or your home and the water system drained so there's no water left standing inside those pipes."

If you are home, there's one easy step you can take.

Blitch said, "Drip your faucets and not just a drip, drip but maybe just a slight little steady stream."

Blitch says when your pipes freeze there isn't a whole lot you can do.

"It's very hard to pin point the exact location," said Blitch, "More times than not, the pipes can thaw out and it'll be fine, but sometimes as that water heats and cools down, contracts and expands, it can cause that pipe to rupture or bust."

You can buy pipe insulation at most hardware stores to wrap around pipes that are exposed to the cold.

"Open up cabinet doors to any faucets that are on the exterior walls of the house. Let that warm air from inside your house heat those pipes up underneath the sink," Blitch said, "Adding all those things together could certainly help prevent the pipes from freezing."

Along with running a steady stream of hot and cold water, you can also disconnect your garden hoses and cover those faucets with a hose bib cover to protect it from the cold.

Bib covers and pipe insulation cost around two to eight dollars at a hardware store.

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