5 ways to prevent your pipes from freezing

As bitter temperatures move into the Dayton region this weekend, freezing pipes could cause a costly maintenance disaster for home owners.

Frozen water pipes are a problem in both cold and warmer climates, affecting 250,000 households each winter — and occurring with both plastic and copper pipes, according to insurance company State Farm Mutual. Expanding water causes pipes to break, which can cause flooding and other maintenance issues.

Pipes that freeze most frequently include pipes exposed to sever cold in outdoor areas; water supply pipes in unheated areas like basements and crawl spaces; and pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.

Here are five ways you can prevent your pipes from freezing:

• Set the thermostat in your house no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit

• A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall, according to the American Red Cross.

• Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls, the Red Cross advised.

• Disconnect garden hoses and, if possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets, according to the Red Cross. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.

• Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.

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