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Here’s how to prevent bursting pipes after Helena’s big freeze

Posted at 2:34 PM, Mar 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 17:40:29-05

BILLINGS – February 2019 was one of the coldest months on record for Montana.

That prolonged cold weather should have homeowners thinking about something that may not often cross your mind: your water pipes.

Frozen and burst pipes have been plaguing Billings residents and city streets recently.

Mark Riley, owner of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, says your pipes are most vulnerable during the warm up after a long cold spell.

“What happens when you have this prolonged cold is that the air seeps in, and that’s what freezes that pipe,” said Riley.

That frozen water will then expand and cause a break in the pipe. When the ice in the pipe thaws, water will begin to leak out, potentially causing thousands of dollars in damage.

Most commonly, the pipes that are closer to the exterior walls of your home have a higher likelihood of freezing. You can prevent this by making sure that pipes are insulated properly, and keeping those areas of your house warm.

Riley says that it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“Nobody expects it. You’ve gone many winters without a problem and all of a sudden this winter (your pipes burst.) And so when someone unsuspectedly comes home, or they are at home and hear a pipe burst it’s a very big shock,” said Riley.

You can prevent the surprise of walking into a flooded basement by keeping your pipes warm and making sure they are properly insulated.

Reporting by Mitch Lagge for MTN News