Winter can be bitter cold up here in Illinois – and the dead of winter can lead to a burst pipe. That’s why we blow our sprinklers out as autumn comes to a close; and it’s why we ought to be cautious about our plumbing. A burst pipe can create serious issues, and it can be hard to identify.

The Danger

When are my pipes in danger of freezing? If a pipe reaches 20 degrees fahrenheit or lower, it is liable to freeze. Keep an eye on pipes that are more exposed to the elements; most internal pipes in a house ought to be fine as long as the heat is on. Pipes that are buried shallowly in your landscape are definitely liable to bursting after a freeze.

The Solution

On particularly cold days or nights, you’ll want to leave your water running just a bit. Turn the cold water on from one of your faucets and leave it running for the duration of the cold spell. Using cold water saves you on your water heating bills, and it has the same effect. Make sure there’s about a pencil’s width stream pouring out of the faucet. Leaving the water running ensures that there’s a fresh supply of water that’s more temperate than your pipe would normally become. Your pipes won’t freeze up or burst so long as the water passing through it is above 20 degrees. You’ll waste a bit of water, sure, but you may save hundreds on damages incurred due to a burst pipe.