Flash freeze: What all those thumps and bumps mean for your hous - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Flash freeze: What all those thumps and bumps mean for your house

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Kevin Wharton Kevin Wharton
A frozen garden hose that was left attached to an outside faucet. A frozen garden hose that was left attached to an outside faucet.
Wharton shows how a doggie door can allow cold air in and warm air out. Wharton shows how a doggie door can allow cold air in and warm air out.
Water facuets in the laundry room placed against an outside wall. Water facuets in the laundry room placed against an outside wall.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kevin Wharton doesn't have to look long or hard to find trouble spots in your house when Kentuckiana is dealing with its worst flash freeze in 20 years.

"This hose is frozen solid," said Wharton as he inspected a home in Louisville's Crescent Hill neighborhood.

Wharton, a reconstruction specialist for Paul Davis Restorations, believes we can save ourselves money and grief by attending to small details we otherwise might overlook. He's big on venting; specifically, closing the vents to the crawl space.

"You need to stop that cold air from entering," Wharton said. "But if you have heat going into your partial basement, leave an opening so that some of that heat can get into the crawl space, particularly if you have pipes there."

Shutoff valves can also stop a lot of trouble cold.

"Shut off your washer valve between loads, but turn the machine on. It relieves the pressure on the line," Wharton said.

The same is true of water lines connecting to hoses outside.

"Turn off the valve back in the warm house, open up the outside, and let it drain out."

Otherwise, Wharton said, you may not realize that outside water line has frozen, and compromised the pipe, until spring.

"Last thing you want is to wash your car, and go back in to find a flooded basement," said Wharton.

Sub-zero temperatures have turned our homeowner's pug, Pearl, and Boston Terrier, Rupert, into couch potatoes. The doggie door offers no temptation to explore outside. But dollars may wander through the cracks.

"If you glued a piece of foam insulation to it it's gonna provide insulated air space and stop that cold," Wharton said.

Wharton keeps WD-40 handy to lubricate the tracks for sliding doors, so they're less likely to freeze shut. He also has an answer as to why bone-chilling winds make wooden decks sound like bowls of Rice Krispies.

"It's basically a frost quake out there," he said. "It's the wood expanding with enough moisture it can actually cause damage to the board."

According to Wharton, the next thaw will reveal the extent of the damage. Then, he says, it's a matter of resealing it or replacing it. But Wharton also said patience will pay off.

"Wait a week to reseal it after you power wash it, "Wharton said."The wood needs to dry thoroughly, so that you're not just sealing in that moisture."

"You may pay a little bit more for your heat or water, but it's worth it, "Wharton said. "Cheaper than cleaning up from a burst pipe."

The cheapest fix may be nozzle-covers for the outside water lines. But call your favorite hardware stores to make sure they're in stock. Several hardware stores and home centers tell WAVE 3 News that the covers are on backorder.

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