Local plumber offers tips to prevent pipes from freezing

FARGO — Plumbers in our area are hard at work warming up the freezing pipes of their customers as we head straight into winter.

In every winter month, about twelve people call Tony Gray of Home, Heating, and Plumbing in Fargo saying their pipes are clogged with ice.

"We've gotten our first call in October actually, which was surprising," plumber Tony Gray said.

He said pipes underneath your sink or boiler lines next to exterior walls are the most at risk.

After freezing, they can burst, potentially wreaking expensive havoc across homes.

"It can ruin a basement, it can ruin wood flooring, laminate flooring, it can ruin a lot of stuff," Gray said.

WDAY News asked him, what's the worst damage he's seen from a bursting frozen pipe, and he said this: "Probably like a full remodel on the house. That's replacing every water line in the house, most of the fixtures and the toilets where the house is gutted and the guy was replacing sheet rock and flooring and carpet and... That's what I mean, it can really ruin your day."

The most common symptom of a frozen pipe: water isn't coming out.

"Open cabinet doors," Gray said. "If you've got a troubled area, you can put a fan on."

Fortunately, keeping them warm is usually pretty easy. Gray said preventing them from freezing at all is key.

Keep the heat on when you leave home.

If you're using a forced air or an electric furnace heating system, keep the inside temperature no lower than 45 degrees. If you have a boiler, no lower than 50.

Gray said insulating pipes in exterior walls is an effective strategy. Consumerreports.org said pipe insulation can cost as little as 50 cents per foot.

If you've tried it all and none of it works, call your local plumber.