By CBS Baltimore Staff

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — As we trudge through the coldest month of the year, Howard County is sharing tips on how to keep water pipes from freezing and busting.

“These are everyday tips that can help our residents protect their pipes and ultimately their homes,” Calvin Ball Howard County Executive said. “I encourage all our residents and businesses to take a few moments to check the status of their pipes amid winter’s freezing temperatures, it could save you from unwanted and costly damage.”

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Some tips to protect water pipes ahead of time include:

  • Wrap and insulate exposed pipes with things like heat tape or foam pipe sleeves.
  • Leave hot and cold water dripping throughout the night when the temperature reaches below 15 degrees.
  • Keep doors open in the house to ensure that heat can spread to every room.
  • Seal air leaks in the house to prevent cold air from spreading through the house.
  • Close outside air vents on cold days.
  • Keep the inside thermostat above 55 degrees.
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In addition to personal pipe protection, the bureau asks that residents help protect the city’s public pipes by shoveling snow away from fire hydrants and stormwater runoff drains.

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In the event that a water pipe does end up freezing, Howard County has a few recommendations to mitigate the damage:

  • Open the cold-water faucet that’s closest to the frozen pip to help relieve pressure.
  • Use a gentle heat source to warm up the pipe. This could be a light bulb or a hair dryer.
  • Never us an open flame to thaw the pipe.

CBS Baltimore Staff