COLUMBIA -- Frozen pipes can lead to thousands of dollars in damage to your home. With temperatures expected to plunge into the teens for the first time this winter season, now is the time to be vigilant.
"People become a little complacent and they don't think about us here in the South having problems with frozen pipes like they would in the North," said Allison Dean Love, spokesperson for the S.C. Insurance News Service. In fact, many people don't even realize they have exposed pipes, she said.
These below-normal temperatures should serve as a wake-up call to homeowners, Love said, to get their homes in order for the colder weather. That could include adding insulation and sealing cracks and holes in siding and foundations.
Temperatures are expected to return to normal by the weekend, with daytime highs in the mid-50s and nighttime lows in the mid-30s.
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Meanwhile, here's a survival guide:
• Keep the house warm, and keep the cabinet doors open. Set the thermostat for at least 65 degrees because the temperature inside the walls, where the pipes are located, is substantially colder. A lower temperature will not keep the pipes from freezing. Keeping cabinet doors open allows the warm air to circulate around pipes, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom.
• Keep the water trickling, especially through outdoor pipes and faucets connected to pipes that run through an unheated or unprotected space. Hot and cold faucets should be turned to a slow trickle during the coldest nighttime hours, Love said. Garden hoses should be disconnected.
• Know how to turn the water off in case a pipe should burst.