I know it is obvious to just about everyone by now, but it is COLD! The polar vortex has swept down and finally shown us what we have been missing about winter. The inability to use your hands, the inability to start your car and your nose hairs freezing every time you take a breath. This is the kind of cold temperatures when you need to start getting concerned with how your home will hold up to the extreme temperatures.

My house has been making funny noises since the mercury in the thermometer took a nose dive. Weird creeks and noises in the walls, a draft that I cannot seem to pinpoint, and the fear that pipes might freeze. A busted water pipe can create some expensive problems. Especially once things start thawing out.

So how do you prevent it?

1) If you have the motivation enough to crawl underneath your home in sub-zero temperatures. Experts recommend installing pipe insulation. You can find them at just about any hardware store. They look a lot like a small pool noodle, and will provide some much need protection from the cold.

2) Keep your cabinets open under your sinks. This will allow the heat from the house to get inside the cabinets and keep your pipes warm.

3) Keep the sinks on at a small "trickle." Keeping the water moving through your pipes can keep them from freezing. Much like how a river may not totally freeze over, even during extreme cold.

4) Buy heat tape. This is another item you can pick up from any hardware store and is designed to turn on electric heat coils when temperatures reach a certain level.

5) If you sense a pipe is starting to freeze, bust out the trusty hair dryer. When pipes freeze, ice expands, causing the pipes to burst. If you can apply just enough heat to the pipe to thaw it out slightly, you may save your self an expensive fix.

Judging by what the weatherman is telling us, the polar vortex should start to head back to where it came from within a few days. Until then stay warm and keep an eye on those pipes.

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