Protecting Your Pipes in the Bitter Cold

Roanoke, VA - This arctic air is likely going to cause problems for water pipes which have crews on that front gearing up as well.

When you start talking about single digit temperatures, that's when the problems with water really begin, because the ground begins freezing deeper.

As the arctic weather blows into the Roanoke Valley, Nick Falletta, who owns Townside Plumbing, is making sure everything is ready to go for the extra calls he's pretty sure will begin coming in.

"Even if it's in the middle of the night we will do what we can," Falletta said.

As temperatures take a nose dive, one of his primary concerns is uninsulated pipes that run through unfinished basements and inside walls.

Falletta says while it is too late to properly get in and insulate most exposed pipes, the next few nights will be the perfect time to put to use an age old remedy.

"If you run your water... just a little bit. It's much more difficult to freeze moving water than it would be if it's just standing. So that's one quick remedy you can do," Falletta continued.

That won't work for pipes that are outside.

While code dictates pipes are laid below the frost line, when temperatures get as cold as predicted, that frost line begins to sink.

To make matters worse, recent heavy rain has saturated the ground, making the possibility of big problems even greater.

"The rain has penetrated down in the ground and it's more likely to freeze which could increase the amount of movement of the earth putting additional stress on the pipes leading to breaks," said Sarah Baumgardner with the Western Virginia Water Authority.

Other than dripping water, experts suggest you open the cupboards beneath your sink to allow for warm air flow there.

Finally, experts also suggest you figure out where you main water valve is so you can quickly cut the water in the event of a break, or just cut it off overnight altogether to prevent a break in the first place.