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Tip on preventing frozen pipes before cold weather

Experts suggest being proactive with preventative maintenance to keep pipes from freezing.

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — A frozen pipe during a winter storm can be costly, requiring an emergency service call from a plumber and likely damage to your home and belongings.

That's why experts suggest being proactive with preventative maintenance before cold weather arrives.

Every year managers at Arlington Woods in Muskegon County remind residents to get their homes ready for freezing temperatures. Those who follow the recommendations can get through a winter storm without any issues. Those who ignore the warning often run into problems just as temps dip blow freezing.

"It's going to happen," said Rod Morse of Morse Mobile Home Repairs. 

Thursday as cold and snowy weather was heading towards Muskegon County Morse was checking water boxes at Arlington Woods.

The box covers venerable water service lines that sit above ground and enter underneath many manufactured home.

Morse says a proper water box will shield the water pipes from snow and ice and include layers of insulation. The pipes under the box should also be wrapped with heat tape. 

Also make sure to check the skirting around your manufactured home. Cracks or holes can allow wind in which also has the potential to freeze pipes.

If a pipe does freeze it can be thawed with an electric heat gun.

"And you'll start to feet the broken ice breaking loose," said Morse.

Water service lines to homes in some older communities are also notorious trouble spots. So far this winter has been mild and the frost is only 10-12 inches down into the ground. The city of Muskegon Heights hasn't received any calls about frozen water service lines this winter. 

"The frost line doesn't seem to be as deep as it typically is this time of year," said Muskegon Heights Utilities Director John Allen.

The cold stretch of weather forecasters are predicting for Muskegon County could drive the frost deeper into the ground over the next 5-7 days.

In 2018 the city of Muskegon Heights took preventative measures and buried about 100 water service lines deeper to keep them from causing problems during cold weather. The state grant used to pay for the project also removed lead connections from the water lines.

When it's really cold, and for long stretches of time anyone concerned their pipes might freeze can let water trickle from a faucets.

"As long as the water is moving it doesn't have the tendency to freeze," said Allen. 

Plumbers also suggest opening cabinet doors under sinks and in storage areas to let heat reach areas around uninsulated pipes. 

But the best bet is always to be proactive with your preventative maintenance before winter weather arrives.

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