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Importance of Winterizing Your Water Pipes

October 28, 2019

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today we're talking about the importance of winterizing your water pipes. Hello, I'm Amy Myers and welcome to Farm and Family. Today we're speaking with Dr. Jason Barrett, Mississippi State University Assistant Extension Professor. Jason, whether we have just a house or multiple buildings on our property, what will happen if we do not protect our water pipes or winterize our home inside and out?

Jason Barrett: One of the biggest things that can happen that's an issue is a water pipe busting whether it's inside the home underneath the house, in the attic, or connected to an adjacent building such as a barn or some other structure.

Amy Myers: So these pipes can burst and cause all kinds of problems. What are some spots in our home that are effected by extremely cold temperature when it comes to this?

Jason Barrett: First of all, be conscious of where your lines are that access your home. Are they in your attic, are they underneath your house, and also any type of spigot that has outside exposure.

Amy Myers: Okay, so washing machines to washing machine waterlines, and water hose pipes, and bathroom pipes too?

Jason Barrett: Sure, sure, sure. Just being conscious of having your entire home heated, maybe not to block off certain rooms 'cause you don't want those to get colder than any other, especially if there are waterlines within that room.

Amy Myers: Now, what conditions when it comes to the temperature and how long the temperature is gonna be really cold, what temperatures and conditions would cause pipes to freeze and maybe bust?

Jason Barrett: When we start getting temperatures where it stays below freezing from dusk dark until daylight the next day, or if it's freezing all day long, but mainly if you start getting temperatures that drop below freezing for the entire night, that's when you should really have concern.

Amy Myers: 32 degrees is considered freezing, but it's actually like if it gets down into the 20s that we should start leaving our pipes dripping.

Jason Barrett: Sure. If you're getting those really low temperatures, if you start getting the 20s or below, leave a faucet dripping or multiple faucets dripping during the night. I would tell you look for the faucet that maybe furthest away from where your water comes into your home, that way you're pulling water all the way through the house. Just note that leaving a faucet dripping overnight is only gonna use about a gallon an hour, so over the course of a month's time, you may only be spending somewhere between 75 cents and a $1.50 in water to just leave one faucet dripping every night, which that would be an extreme case to leave one dripping every single night.

Amy Myers: That's the warm and cold side?

Jason Barrett: No, I would just tell you just leave the cold running, just leave it. You could leave whatever you want to leave dripping, but the fact of leaving something moving, some water moving through those lines that's what's important so it's not just sitting still.

Amy Myers: What else can we do to prevent our pipes from freezing?

Jason Barrett: First of all, if you do know where your pipes are, if you don't have any insulation on those pipes, I would suggest getting insulation, get good insulation on those pipes, and then also, if you have any spigots, it maybe exposed to outside, unhook your hose, water hose from it, put a good insulated cover over those spigots.

Amy Myers: Water pipes that are sticking up out of the ground, make sure you put pipe insulation around that, correct?

Jason Barrett: Sure, if you have pipes that come up out of the ground, of course you'd like to insulate that pipe that's exposed above the ground and then also if you have some type of cover, you can buy great insulated covers that'll go over the entire head of the faucet now.

Amy Myers: If you're a landlord, make sure you tell your renters about this because it will inconvenience everybody if something happens.

Jason Barrett: Sure, landlords are responsible for those repairs, plus it's a cost. So from a renter's standpoint, please make them aware of things that they would need to do because, yes, running a faucet is very inexpensive compared to a plumbing visit which is gonna cost you at least $75-$100 just to get a plumber there.

Amy Myers: What if the pipes bust in the middle of the night? I know that we can call up a plumber at any time of the day, but what if this happens in the middle of the night?

Jason Barrett: Well first thing I would tell you, be knowledgeable about where your water meter is 'cause this is where you should be able to cut your water on and off to your home. If you have a pipe that bust in the middle of the night, and you have water going everywhere possibly, be able to cut the water off. If you cut the water off, make sure you cut your hot water heater as well. But just know where to access that on and off, that way you don't have more damage than needed.

Amy Myers: Today we've been speaking with Dr. Jason Barret, Mississippi State University Assistant Extension Professor. I'm Amy Myers and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: Ext Ctr for Government & Comm Devel

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