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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : features May 22, 2015

1/24/2013 9:59:00 PM
Ask the contractor: Frozen pipes can flush thousands of dollars down the drain

Sandy Griffis
Yavapai County Contractors Association

Our area has experienced one of the longest durations of freezing temperatures in many years, not allowing the ground to even begin to thaw. And the Farmers Almanac says that the threat of frozen pipe-related damage to our homes and businesses is not over yet. We have a couple more months of cold weather coming into our area. So let's take preventative measures, because a burst pipe can cause thousands of dollars in damage to a home.

Ruptured pipes are one of the most common claims that insurance companies see. Frozen water causes pressure buildup, which then creates the pipe to burst. Pipes that are in attics, crawlspaces and outside walls are especially vulnerable to freezing.

Insulate pipes and seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes. Always disconnect garden hoses and drain/flush yard sprinkler systems.

Run a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces. Leave cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Everyone should know the location of their water shut-off valve because, if you do have pipes that burst, you will want to shut it off immediately and not have to wait for an emergency plumber to do it.

If you have a fire sprinkler, check to ensure that the lines are insulated. Check your water meter box and insulate with waterproof covering.

There have been several cases with this last freeze cycle in which the main line has frozen. This issue cannot always be fixed. If the main goes under the slab or driveway or is under the home, a plumber cannot always get to that area, and it turns out to be a "wait and see" or "wait and thaw" game. It is not always prudent or cost-effective to go to the expense of digging a line up.

One caller to YCCA, Jeanette, and her husband have been without water for eight days due to a frozen water main in their Eagle Ridge neighborhood. Jeanette said they are pretending to be on an extended camping trip. Fortunately, they have heat in the house and kind neighbors who are supplying them with water. Jeanette has been enjoying take-out dinners and they are making the best of a bad situation. I am not so sure I could live without running water for eight days and counting.

Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. Call YCCA for information on hiring a contractor at 778-0040. Submit questions to or through

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