Properly protect your pipes during the hard freeze

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) – An outdoor water pipe at a Gulfport restaurant ruptured overnight.  The damage was caused by frozen water.

"There was no running water through it and the pipe froze and it split the pipe," said Daren Tichenor, owner of "A Royal Flush."

The company received dozens of calls about pipe problems Tuesday morning, after a night of frigid temperatures and harsh winds.

"People called about having no water. Turning faucets on and no water coming out, and simply concerned that pipes are broken."

Tichenor said the problems could have been prevented and you don't have to be a plumber to do it.

"The number one thing I would recommend to do is to know where your water shutoff is in case there is a problem.  A busted water pipe can cause a lot of damage in your home if it busts in the home," Tichenor said.

The next step is proper protection of exposed pipes.  All you need is some foam insulation, a knife or saw, and good old-fashioned duct tape.

"The whole pipe needs to be covered. Simply cut the insulation on an angle. You want to keep the joint tightly together."

Tichenor also recommends leaving both the cold and hot water running at a trickle overnight.  And don't forget to protect the outdoor spigot.

"It's just a simple Styrofoam box.  It has a cord on it.  It simply installs on the handle," Tichenor said.

Another precaution you can take is replacing your copper or PVC pipes with a flexible product called PEX pipes.

"If this product was to freeze, it would simply expand.  And when the temperatures gets above freezing, it would thaw and water would go through it again," he said.

Even if your pipes have been insulated, it's a good idea to inspect them again to make sure the insulation is in good condition and that they were installed properly.  Spending a few dollars now can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars later.

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