Forecasters are predicting overnight temperatures across the state to be below freezing for the rest of the week, making now the best time to take steps to avoid frozen water pipes.
As water freezes, it expands. If that frozen water is in your water pipes that could cause pressure to build up and shatter a pipe seal or the pipe, sending water throughout your home.
"On some nights when it gets very cold it’s a good idea to open up some cabinets to the water pipes that are facing closest to the outdoors like kitchens and bathrooms that may be exposed, so that you have some warm air in the house helping to keep those pipes a little bit warm," said Missouri Insurance Information Service spokesman Brent Butler.
If you plan to leave for more than a few hours, Butler suggests not turning off the thermostat.
"I wouldn’t turn the thermostat below about 55 [degrees] if you’re going away for a few days," he said. "Obviously you’ll keep it warmer when you’re there, but there’s no reason to turn the thermostat off for a week if you’re gone because you’ll come back and you’re liable to have some problems with frozen pipes in the house if it got too cold."
If your pipes do freeze, Butler said it’s best to call an expert and not try to thaw them out yourself.
Use faucet covers or wrap rags, paper, trash bags or plastic foam around outdoor faucets and pipes for insulation.
Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes with caulking.
When extremely cold weather is forecast, open kitchen and bathroom cabinets that border outside walls to expose water pipes to warmer indoor air.
Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through an unheated space. Alternatively, consider turning off the shut-off valve while these faucets are running in order to drain the pipes and help avoid freezing.
If you leave town for more than a few days in winter, don’t turn down the indoor thermostat too low. In the event your pipes freeze, turn off your water at the shut-off valve.
Don’t leave electrical appliances near frozen pipes. Don’t use high-risk techniques in an attempt to thaw frozen pipes. This can result in more substantial damage.
If you try to thaw your own pipes, be careful. Think twice, you may need to call a professional plumber for assistance.