This week we are expecting very cold weather in Grand County.

State Farm Insurance states that an average of a quarter-million families have their homes ruined and their lives disrupted each winter due to water pipes that freeze.

Bursting pipes occur when frozen water causes a pressure buildup between the ice blockage and the closed faucet. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are particularly vulnerable to extreme cold. To keep water in your pipes from freezing here are some suggestions.

Before the Cold Hits:

1. Insulate Pipes: pipes that are in the crawl space or attic are most susceptible to freezing. The more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be.

2. Seal Leaks that allow cold air inside where pipes are located. Use caulk to keep the cold out and the heat in.

3. Disconnect garden hoses and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This will reduce the chance of freezing a pipe inside the house.

When the Cold Hits:

1. Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes. Very important if you have any pipes on exterior walls.

2. Set the thermostat in your home no lower than 55° F.

If Your Pipes Freeze:

1. If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call one of ourrecommend plumbers.

2. If you detect that your water pipes have frozen and burst, you need to turn off the water at the main shut-off valve in the house.

(Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shut-off valve is and how to open and close it.)

3. Never try to thaw a pipe with an open flame. You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with warm air from a hair dryer.