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The polar vortex will continue to hold through Friday bringing the coldest air in years to the US and below average temperatures to most of the nation. Amid this frigid cold, it’s important to know how to keep your pipes safe.

Parts of US to see coldest temperatures in years, more snowstorms to come

A strong area of low pressure that is stationed over central Canada is holding the Arctic air from the polar vortex in place, which is pushing a lot of frigid air into the northern United States, NJ/AccuWeather reports. This pattern is expected to hold through Friday and possibly into the weekend.

The Arctic air will bring some of the most frigid temperature drops to hit the US in years to some locations. It’s important to take precautions for you and your family, your pets and to protect your pipes from freezing (see below).

If you suffer from arthritis, during this bitterly cold weather, make sure to keep your hands covered when outdoors, but you may even want to wear light gloves or mittens when indoors. Keeping your hands warm could reduce the need for arthritis finger pain treatment medications.

Arctic air to dominate central and northern portions of US

Along the northern tier of the US, and from north to south for a wide swath of the nation’s midsection, into parts of the Ohio Valley, and spots in the Northeast and Virginia, below average temperatures will be the norm into the weekend.

“Latest model guidance continues to show that an arctic air mass will dominate the northern and central portions of the country into this weekend under the influence of a slow-moving polar vortex centered over the Canadian prairies,” the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center (WPC) said in a statement.

More snow storms coming

Lee Robertson from the National Weather Service in New Jersey said, “it definitely looks like the next couple of weeks are going to be fairly active.”

“The jet stream is pushed farther south,” Robertson notes, “so many storms coming off the Pacific Ocean get caught up in the jet stream and continue to get tracked across the southern states and the southeast coast and bring these precipitation storms [East].”

How to keep your pipes safe

As frigid temperatures cause the mercury to plummet across the US, plumbers are busier than ever answering call after call to repair pipes that have burst after freezing, Fox 23 reports. Turning on the water after pipes have frozen can cause them to burst, creating a massive indoor flood. Not to mention, having to cut into your walls to repair the damage.

That’s why it’s important to set all your faucets to drip. Sure, it may cost you a little bit extra on your water bill for the month. But it’s a far cry from what a repair could cost, paying a plumber is expensive. And then there is also the cost of the damage burst pipes could cause in your home which could be extraordinary.

Homes that have their piping in crawl spaces are the most susceptible to frozen lines. Especially if you have side vents. All these concerns are why prevention is essential. However, plumbers say there is a simple remedy to prevent a potential disaster from occurring with your water pipes.

Set all your faucets to a slow drip inside and outside your home. All you need is a tiny drip of a single drop that you can count with the tempo of: “One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand,” etc.

Another easy, preventative measure is to open all the cabinets where your pipes are, typically under the sink. This allows the warm air from your home to circulate around your indoor plumbing.

Another thing you can do to help prevent frozen pipes, if you have your plumbing in a crawlspace and side vents, is to close the side vents.

Outdoors, if you have a hose – disconnect it.

Further, if your crawlspace pipes and outdoor pipes don’t have insulation, it’s a good idea to have them insulated, and even taking the extra step of adding heat tape to them.