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Help protect yourself from freezing pipes in Montana

Posted at 9:15 AM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-22 11:15:11-05

HELENA - Damage from a frozen or burst pipe can quickly lead to hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in damage to your home.

But there are some simple steps you can take to protect your property.

“I’ve actually seen a few basements where people come home and the basement was entirely full of water and like running out the front door,” said Big Sky Plumbing and Heating owner and president Troy Hedden.

If you’d rather not come home to an ice rink when you leave your home and appliances for an extended period of time, there are some key things you can do to avoid frozen pipes and any subsequent water damage.

When temperatures drop below freezing, it’s important to make sure your heating system works and to keep your home heated.

You may even need to open the cupboard below your sink so that heat can reach those pipes.

“Check underneath your cupboard so you can, it's easy enough to walk around, open the kitchen sink cupboard. Is it really cold under there?” says Hedden.

Additionally, it can help to keep your faucet running slightly.

But doing that can actually run the risk of your sewer system freezing up.

So, ultimately, a better solution is to have a trusted neighbor or friend stop by the house and make sure the heat is working, flush the toilets, and occasionally run the hot and cold faucets.

“If your heat fails and it only has to sit, when it's 30 below 0, only needs to sit for a day or day and a half and things are going to start going sideways,” says Hedden.

It’s also important to know where and how to shut off any water mains and access points.

“You don't want to cause yourself undue financial stress, and you don’t want to waste water,” said City of Helena Utility Maintenance Superintendent Trent Scheuer.

“Water is an unbelievably powerful substance when it freezes. And it don't matter what your pipes are made out of. If it freezes long enough, they'll break. And when that comes loose, you've got a mess,” says Hedden.

While these few tips may seem like a bit of work, they can possibly save you some serious money.