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Subzero temperatures, wind chill create risk of frozen pipes

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Feb 03 2014 10:53:29 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 03 2014 11:15:50 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

The extreme temperatures we are facing create a high risk of frozen pipes and property damage, and this round of cold weather may prove more brutal on your home than the cold snap in December.

Local experts explained while this cold snap might not last as long as the one December, they're more worried about the wind chill that can freeze pipes more quickly.

Bozeman resident Dana Gleason said he has experienced the headache of frozen pipes.

"In my case, we didn't close up windows that were open for ventilation through the summer and fall, and we had a cold snap in late November and we froze some pipes," he said.

Gleason said he had to spend time thawing his pipes so they wouldn't burst and damage his home.

It's an experience many homeowners will be dealing with in the next few days.

"It's a higher probability of freezing your line with the wind, and so we have the cold temperatures like the other month, but we also have the wind and that's what's got us concerned," Bozeman's Superintendent of Water/Sewer Operations John Alston explained.

Alston said they will no doubt see frozen pipes during this cold snap, and added the expected wind chill speeds up the freezing process.

"I would suspect we're going to have several meters and water lines frozen," he said.

"The best thing to do is make sure that your vents to your crawl space are closed and that your doors or anything leading to the area where the water meter is secured, because that kind of wind will freeze a water line extremely quick," Alston explained.

Bozeman resident Kristin Hopkins has already taken some of those steps ahead of the deep freeze.

"I have a rental property over on the west side, and I'm always making sure the little installation caps are on over the crawl space vents, things like that seem to help," Hopkins said.

Gleason said after his experience dealing with frozen pipes, he's making sure his home stays safe.

"It's way easier to avoid frozen pipes than to deal with them after it happened," Gleason said.

Williams Plumbing and Heating explained that during the last cold spell, they received up to 1,800 calls per day.

Here are some tips to keep your home safe from Williams Plumbing and Heating: When temperatures dip below freezing, close vents in your crawl spaces. Tightly close windows. Heat your garage and keep garage doors closed. Keep the temperature in your home around 68 degrees.

If your pipes do freeze, shut off your water valve, turn up your heat, and thaw your pipes with a hair dryer or space heater.