Keep your pipes from freezing

Cincinnati-based Roto-Rooter, which operates a location in Springettsbury Township, recommends the following tips to protect plumbing systems during freezing temperatures:

--Disconnect outside water hoses. If left connected during freezing temperatures, water in

hoses will freeze and expand, causing connecting faucets and pipes to freeze and break.

--Inspect outside faucets. If they're dripping or leaking, make the necessary repairs or call a plumber

before a freeze.

--Note that when pipes freeze, water pressure builds and causes cracks, whether the pipe is

made of plastic, copper or steel. Even a tiny crack can unleash 250 gallons of water in a

single day.

--If your home is equipped with interior shut-off valves leading to outside faucets, close them

and drain water from the pipes. Cover outside faucets using an inexpensive faucet insulation kit.

--Insulate pipes in unheated areas. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables

around exposed pipes.

--Your water heater works harder during winter months. Drain corrosion-causing sediment

from the tank, which reduces energy efficiency.

--Set water heater thermostat to 125° F for optimum performance without risk of scalding.

--Clear any leaves and debris from roof gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage

throughout the winter season.

--Inspect and clean sump pit. Remove any rocks and debris from pit then dump a bucket of

water into the sump pit to test the pump. If it turns on and pumps water out then turns

itself off, it is operating properly.

--Make sure your furnace is set no lower than 55 degrees during the winter to prevent pipes

from freezing.