Residents Protect Homes from Winter Weather - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Residents Protect Homes from Winter Weather

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Even if your car doesn't start in subzero temperatures, at least you have a warm place to stay, right? That's apparently not the case, because cold weather problems are creeping right inside people's homes.

Just because the heat is on in your house, doesn't mean everything is warm. Plumbers in Bismarck have been getting a lot of calls this week about frozen pipes.

Shelves that normally hold pipe insulation and heat tape are almost empty at Kirkwood Ace Hardware in South Bismarck. People have been clearing them out over the past week, trying to keep their water pipes from freezing.

"If there's a rarely used bathroom or rarely used faucet, some place with a lack flow in the pipe, that will freeze first," says Jeff Hinz, Ace Hardware.

And the ice and snow buildup are causing some other problems for homeowners, too.

"A lot of people were buying ladders. I assumed that they were hanging Christmas lights. No, they were going up to unplug the sewer vents, which is a whole big problem because there's moisture," says Hinz.

And plumbers say they're getting a lot more calls about these issues.

"The biggest thing that we found were water lines froze up that they might have had a little bit of air penetration coming through the house some place," says Gardell Jockin, Northern Plains Plumbing

Plumbers say if you have a pipe that freezes almost every year, try and run that faucet at a drip because just a little water movement can keep pipes from freezing.

They also suggest keeping vanity doors open to let room temperature air reach the pipes.

"The other big thing is don't turn your thermostat down when you leave in the morning. You're going to try to conserve some heat, but it's just going to cost you," says Hinz. 

But the best thing people can do is make sure their homes are ready before the cold sets in.

"All we can do is kind of patch things together now. Get into spots and do the best we can. There's no perfect solution when it is this cold," says Hinz.

Hinz says if you're still planning to use heat tape, you probably won't be able to use the self-adhesive kind because it doesn't stick well to cold surfaces. Also, you should run a separate cord to each heat tape so you don't blow a fuse.

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