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With Utah’s cold winter temperatures, frozen pipes are a common problem during the winter, and they can do a lot of damage to your plumbing and the rest of your home. Water expands when it freezes, and when this happens inside of a pipe it can cause it to burst. Not only does this require you to replace the damaged pipe, but it can also cause thousands of dollars in water damage.

As common as frozen pipes are in the winter, there are ways to protect your plumbing. Here are a few of the more effective methods of keeping your pipes from freezing solid.

Wrap Exposed Pipes

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to keep exposed pipes from freezing is to simply wrap them up. The most effective material is insulation made specifically to protect pipes; this can be found at most hardware stores. If you don’t have any insulation handy, a few layers of cloth will do in a pinch.

Turning on Your Faucets

Since running water is less likely to freeze, you can protect your pipes by turning on your faucets and letting the water drip or trickle down your drains. You shouldn’t turn on your faucets too much since that could be hard on your water bill, but even a small trickle should be enough to keep your pipes from freezing on a cold day.

Opening Cabinets Underneath Sinks

If you open the cabinet underneath your kitchen sink, you’ll probably notice that the plumbing for the sink is exposed. If you’re going to be gone for a while while the weather is cold, open these cabinets wherever you have them. This will help warmer air circulate around the pipes.

Keep Your Thermostat On

Of course, the above tip only works when you have warm air circulating through your home. If you’re going away for a while in the winter, adjust your home’s thermostat to a minimum 55 degrees. Your home shouldn’t be any colder than that. It shouldn’t be enough to give you a huge heating bill, but it should be enough to keep your plumbing from freezing.

Draining Water from Outdoor Plumbing

Outdoor plumbing is more vulnerable to freezing for obvious reasons, but those pipes cannot freeze if there isn’t any water in them. When it comes time to shut your sprinkler system or outdoor faucets down for the winter, turn off the water supply to these systems and open the faucets. This will allow all the water to drain safely.

When it comes to plumbing, being prepared for the cold of winter can save you a lot of trouble and expense. Being proactive to protect your pipes and having regular maintenance performed can save you a lot of money in the long run.