Atlanta weather | Prepping your pipes for the warm-up

4:44 p.m Friday, Feb. 20, 2015 Metro Atlanta / State news

A weekend warm-up can’t come fast enough for many in metro Atlanta. It’s been downright cold by southern standards.

But going from below-freezing temperatures to highs in the 50s can cause problems for homeowners. Outdoor pipes may not be able to handle the drastic temperature change, especially if they’ve frozen.

If you’ve been lucky so far, it’s not too late to let water drip from outside pipes. This can prevent the pipes from freezing, according to the American Red Cross.

What to do if you have frozen pipes:

— If you turn on a faucet and only get a trickle of water, you likely have a frozen pipe. This is most likely to happen along exterior walls or where the water service enters the home.

— Keep the faucet open to allow running water to help melt ice.

— If you know where the frozen area is, apply heat to the area by using an electric heating pad or hair dryer, or by wrapping pipes in towels soaked in hot water. Do not use any open-flame device.

— Check all the faucets in your home for frozen pipes. If you can’t find the frozen area or can’t access it, call a plumber.

If your home is damaged by winter weather, you may be eligible for financial relief through homeowners or renters policies, according to Ralph Hudgens, state insurance and safety fire commissioner.

Repairing damage to internal plumbing caused by freezing will generally be covered by your homeowners policy, Hudgens said. Damage to carpeting, furniture, and other belongings caused by your pipes freezing should also be covered, he said.

Repairs to frozen pipes on your property but not in the home, such as in your yard, are not covered by standard homeowners insurance, Hudgens said.

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