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Here is how to prevent your pipes from freezing in the winter

(Pexels photo)

You might think it’s improbable in sunny Arizona, but throughout the state — whether you live in the desert or the mountains — your water pipes can freeze in winter and cause a temporary crisis or worse.

Here is what you can do to prevent all that:

As the main water line enters your home, it generally comes vertically out of the ground, tees out from the wall to a hose bib and into your home, where it feeds your fresh water supply lines. If you have an irrigation or sprinkler system, an additional valve runs a second vertical line back into the ground to service the valve box where your irrigation valves are located.

Spend about 20 minutes wrapping any water pipe that sticks out of the ground next to your home. Use old towels, rags and blankets and secure them with duct tape. You can open the valve box cover, too, and throw some loose towels over the irrigation and sprinkler valves. Hardware stores also sell Styrofoam pipe sleeves to enclose pipes. You may want to insulate pipes in your attic and seal air leaks that allow cold air to enter your garage and house in areas where exposed pipes are located.

Some people prevent freezing by slightly cracking open a couple of faucets or hose bibs. If you try that, do it at the point farthest from where the water enters your home. That way, moving water will flow throughout the entire system. This is the least preferable method of freeze protection and the least reliable, but if it’s all you can do, it’s usually better than nothing.

Be sure in both higher elevations and Phoenix to keep your thermostat set a little higher for extra protection.

Other measures to take when you have more time: Insulate pipes in your home’s crawl space and attic and provide insulation around outdoor water pipes and faucets that you use for irrigation. Typical spots to close up are around electrical wiring penetrations, dryer vents and pipes.

When many mountain area homeowners leave for warmer climates on extended winter trips, they also shut off the water and thoroughly drain water out of pipes. Start by finding the lowest faucet in your system, usually on the exterior, and opening it up. Then go back through the cabin and open every sink, shower or bath faucet and flush every toilet to remove remaining water. You also have to turn off the electricity or the pilot light on the water heater and drain the water heater into a floor drain or a garden hose to the exterior. Disconnect and drain garden hoses and empty pipes leading to outside faucets.

Rosie on the House

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