Last year’s devastating cold cost many homeowners and businesses hundreds and thousands of dollars. To help avoid a repeat of such a costly and inconvenient situation, homeowners can take a few precautions before the next round of freezing cold strikes Minnesota. For example, here are our top tips for preventing frozen pipes and saving your wallet from an unexpected hit.

1. Check your water flow often.

If you notice that your water is restricted, try to turn on all the faucets in the home and get water running to a normal stream. Restricted water flow could indicate that your pipes are starting to freeze.

Consider placing an insulated jacket on exterior walls or other areas where you’ve previously had problems.

2. Listen for a gurgling sound when you run your kitchen sink

During this season, with warm and freeze-down weather, frozen plumbing vents may cause your sinks to sound like they are gurgling or “air-locked” when they drain. It may also cause problems with your toilet’s ability to flush.

If you hear such sounds, take steps to better insulate your pipes from the cold.

3. Keep indoor temps at 55 degrees F or higher

When temperatures get really cold or if you go on vacation, be sure to keep the temperature inside the house at 55 degrees or higher. You also need to open the cabinet doors under the sinks to let warm air circulate in those areas. Make sure to close garage doors and space vents.

4. Monitor water drainage

It’s very important to keep an eye on how your water is draining. Minnesota has already had its share of cold weather and subzero temperatures, which may have caused your water flow to get a bit slushy. Also, as we try to escape the cold, we often end up spending more time indoors at home, which means we’re using our sewer systems, drain lines, and toilets more frequently. Things like grease, food, excess toilet paper, and baby wipes are detrimental to proper drainage. Cold, slushy water and excess debris is an easy recipe for slow drains – which can lead to frozen sewer lines, clogged drains, or back-ups.

During the chilly season, be extra careful about keeping clog-causing debris away from drains, and try to clear a clog at the first sign of slow drainage.

5. Don’t forget about out-of-the-way spaces

Utility areas, like the basement or crawl spaces, also tend to have pipes and will be the first to freeze with drafts and poor insulation. Make sure these areas are well insulated and protected from the elements.

Please remember these are all just suggestions on how to avoid frozen sewer lines and pipes. Minnesota weather fluctuates day to day and sometime hour by hour, and it’s not always possible to steer clear of every problem. If you experience an issue or fear your pipes are frozen, be sure to call a licensed master plumber like Dusty’s Drain Cleaning, Inc.

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