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Experts Pass Along Advice For Protecting Your Home From Extreme Cold

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Winterizing Your Home

Experts say you should keep a trickle of water running in extreme cold to keep pipes from freezing. (Credit: CBS 2)

LEVITTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)Temperatures in the single digits were set to arrive early Tuesday, and they can really do a number on your home.

CBS 2’s Dave Carlin went in search of some tips on how to protect your house for the bitter blast.

Phyllis Dalton of Levittown was standing right under the spot Monday where several years ago, a water pipe snapped during a cold snap.

She promised herself it would never happen again, and started winterizing.

“You pay attention and you do those little things,” Levittown said.

Levittown learned just like people need layers of clothing in the extreme cold, houses also need layers of protection. The advice is particularly important in preventing freezing pipes.

“(There is) a valve — a shut off valve,” said Brian Bruce, who operates New York American Water.

He wants every homeowner to know where the valve is located. He also advised extra insulation for pipes.

“It’s just a foam insulation you can buy at a hardware store,” Bruce said. “There’s heat tape you can wrap your pipes in as well.”

Bruce also advises keeping the cabinet doors open so the pipes are exposed to the warmer air, and let water taps drip.

“They could just leave their water trickle during that extended period of time — enough to drip, even overnight,” Bruce said. “It will prevent their pipes from freezing just like that.”

You should also:

• Protect uninsulated pipes with foam-rubber sleeves;

• Make sure your meter lid is closed tightly;

• Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees.

The winterizing experts say for those who make it a habit to turn down the thermostat before turning in for the night, on this night, you’ll want to keep it where it is.

Dalton double-checks her space heater and closes window blinds and curtains so everything in her home stays toasty warm – the polar opposite – no pun intended – of conditions outside.

And Bruce said if you encounter frozen pipes, you should not try to fix them yourself.

“Call the plumber,” he said. “Call us to come out first and make sure they have the water shut off before they do try to thaw it.”

Experts said water pipes that run along exterior walls are especially prone to freezing when they are exposed to air leaks.

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