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Nobody wants to deal with frozen pipes while hosting family for the holidays. What are some ways to prevent frozen pipes from happening?

Frozen water lines typically occur in areas such as crawl spaces or along the outside walls where unprotected plumbing tends to be more vulnerable. These tips can help avoid dealing with this kind of headache:

  • pipes: icycles hanging from a gutterMake sure you have disconnected garden hoses from your home. If you have an irrigation system or sprinklers, make sure it is turned off and drained.
  • Search your house for un-insulated water pipes, especially in unheated areas. Check attics, crawl spaces, and outside walls. Consider wrapping pipes with insulation sleeves. Another option is electric heating tape but follow manufacturers’ instructions carefully to avoid a fire hazard.
  • Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations with caulking to keep cold air away from pipes.
  • Drain and shut off entirely the water to any unoccupied residence such as a summer or vacation home. A loss of power during a winter storm could cause pipes to freeze.
  • Set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees if you’re going out of town. Although you may be able to get away with a lower temperature, this setting is safe for pipes.
  • When below-freezing temperatures occur, keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets supplied by pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces. This will help prevent the water in them from freezing. Also, keep kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
  • Make sure you know where your main water shut-off valve is located inside your home so that you can shut off your water quickly in the event of a water pipe leak. This valve is often located in a utility room or closet or in the basement.

“We want our customers to understand the importance of protecting the pipes in and around their homes before extreme weather or below freezing temperatures set in,” said Kentucky American Water Vice President of Operations David Farrar. “By taking a few simple steps, customers can prevent serious and costly damage to their homes this winter.”

Visit kentuckyamwater.com for more tips on water-related matters.