How to ensure your pipes won't break from the cold - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

How to ensure your pipes won't break from the cold

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RICHLAND, WA - We are gearing up for frigid days ahead: temperatures are dropping quickly, and with the cold weather comes the chance of your pipes freezing.

Reporter Rex Carlin caught up with a local company today to find out how to prevent this from happening and what the next steps are if your pipes do freeze. He went to a house in Richland today that was all but destroyed because of freezing and bursting pipes.

The house flooded due to broken pipes because of some miscommunication - about leaving the heat on - between the owner and some renters who were moving out. It could be considered a worst-case scenario.

Servpro Tri-Cities owner Dave Smith says the circumstances around this house are unique, but some lessons can be taken to make sure your home doesn't suffer the same fate.

"Leave your thermostat at least at 60 degrees," Smith advised. "That may seem high for some, but leave it at 60 degrees because there's a lot of areas in your house. Leave the doors open to the different rooms. There's different areas that the heat has to get to. In this case, many inner walls had broken pipes."

Smith says this is really important because many people don't even think about the pipes inside the house that aren't directly exposed to the elements.

"People would think outside walls would get that from the cold winds and the cold temperatures. That's not always true," Smith said. "The whole house gets cold, it freezes, you get broken pipes."

This is especially important in the upcoming days, where temperatures aren't expected to reach even 25 degrees, and nighttime lows look to reach the single digits.

Smith also has one more important piece of advice.

"Leave your hose bib disconnected, take the hose off. It isn't a wives' tale, it's real," he said. "The back of the pipe sits about that long inside the wall. And if that freezes, it gets a crack first time you open up your water which we see in April and May; you have water damage and you don't know where the water's coming from, and it's always the hose bib."

Smith says be proactive, especially if you plan on being away from home for a weekend: don't let your home get too cold. It'll save you time and money in the long run.

The Servpro guys told us this afternoon that they won't be the busiest when it's really cold out, but the first time it starts to warm up into the upper 30's and 40's is when the calls about broken pipes and flooding start pouring in, because the pipes have thawed out by then.

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