Pipes could freeze, burst in Sumter this week


With below-freezing temperatures staying throughout the night, locals should take care to protect their homes from unwanted water damage caused by frozen pipes.

Homeowners should leave pipes dripping if the temperature will be below freezing for a substantial amount of time, especially when the wind is blowing, said Trey Hill, vice president and service manager at Hill Plumbing & Electric Co.

Leave the faucets dripping - mainly the hot water faucet because those pipes will freeze faster than the cold water pipes - to keep pipes from freezing, he said. Turning on both sides would also be good, he said.

You really only need to let one faucet in the house drip to keep water flowing through the pipes, he said.

Any exposed pipe needs to be insulated, or covered, and outside spigots need to be covered with frost-proof hose bib covers, Hill said. And the wind will make pipes freeze much faster, he said.

Hill Plumbing & Electric received about 20 calls about burst pipes on Tuesday morning after temperatures reached below 20 degrees Fahrenheit the night before.

Depending on where the pipes are located, damage can be caused to the flooring, walls and ceiling.

Busted pipes can result in thousands of dollars in damage because the moisture can ruin flooring, especially hardwood, and dry wall will soak up the water, Hill said.

Don't forget your outside spigots; disconnect garden hoses. David Rourk, owner of Rourk Plumbing Co,. suggests that homeowners leave outside water spigots dripping (if there are no bib covers), and replace LED lights inside pump houses with incandescent bulbs. Another tip, he said, is to open cabinet doors under the sinks to let the warm air in.