Ask Andy: Protecting your pipes

By Andy Wise - bio | email

WHITE STATION, EAST MEMPHIS (WMC-TV) - Our parents practically branded it into our brains:  "You're taking too long in the shower!  Shut it off!"

Monica Aur wishes she ignored Mom and Pop's advice after the Mid-South's most recent deep freeze.

She did what we all do to protect her pipes:  she kept all of her sinks dripping.

What she didn't do was leave the shower dripping in the guest quarters behind her 1920's-era home. According to her plumber, the chill froze the solder joint connecting the shower's pipes, causing it to burst.

Now it's her repair bill that might be bursting.

"We should have had the shower dripping," Aur said woefully.

Corey McKee of General Plumbing Company ( shared these tips to protect your pipes:

* SEAL CRAWL SPACES.  In older homes like Aur's, shower pipes are often exposed in the crawl space since there is no slab.  The wind whips right around them.  If there is no door to close on the crawl space, seal it with a sheet of visqueen.

* COVER OUTDOOR HOSE BIBS.  Wrap them with a towel or rag first, then cover them with those fancy foam covers.  Do NOT leave them dripping like you would your indoor faucets.  Leaving your outdoor hose bibs dripping is just asking for a frozen pipe.

* KEEP WATER HEATERS IN GARAGES RUNNING.  Folks often take their garages for granted, thinking they are heated just like the rest of their homes.  Obviously, your garage isn't heated.  If your water heater is stored there, keep it running.


"It may cost about $10 more on your water bill that month, but that's going to save you hundreds in the long run, for sure," said McKee.

Consumers might also consider installing water cut-off valves outside their homes or separate cut-off valves on guest homes or workshops.

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