Frigid temperatures can cause one of winter's worst woes -- frozen water pipes. But property owners can take several steps to prevent them.

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Frigid temperatures can cause one of winter’s worst woes — frozen water pipes. But property owners can take this simple advice, from the city of Everett’s Public Works Department, to prevent the inconvenience and expense:

  • Disconnect garden hoses.
  • Insulate outside pipes and faucets.
  • Insulate inside pipes and faucets in cold areas such as unheated attics, basements, garages and crawl spaces.
  • Drain irrigation systems.
  • Caulk around incoming pipes.
  • Close or block foundation vents. (Remember to open them again in the spring to prevent rot.)
  • Locate your master water shut-off valve and test it. If a pipe does break, damage can be minimized if you stop the flow of water quickly.
  • Never shut off your heat completely. If you plan to leave your home or business for an extended period and you don’t drain your pipes, you should lower the thermostat but never shut it off. The lack of heat can freeze the pipes in walls and the basement. If you do drain your pipes, be sure to turn off your water heater first.
  • Open cupboard doors under sinks on outside walls so pipes are exposed to inside heat.
    If your pipes do freeze

  • Call a licensed plumber if your pipes freeze. If you locate the frozen section of pipe and try to thaw it yourself, be sure to take the following precautions to protect yourself and your property:
  • Do not use an open flame. You risk setting your property on fire, and overheating one area can cause the pipe to burst.
  • Place a warm towel or rag around the pipe.
  • Make sure you know the location of your master shut-off valve. The frozen pipe may already be broken and, when the water is thawed, it will leak. In this case you will need to shut off the water in your home or business until the leaky pipe is fixed.