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Cold Temperatures Bring Fear to One Mid-State Community

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NOLENSVILLE, Tenn. - As temperatures plummet across the mid-state, many people in one community are very nervous. The town of Nolensville requires fire sprinkler systems in new houses, and many pipes have already burst this month.

If you drive around the town of Nolensville, you will see several dumpsters parked in front of homes. "Between 1000 and 2000 gallons came through that leak, and through the house," says homeowner Cannon Mayes.

Cannon Mayes is one of at least two dozen homeowners in Nolensville who had fire sprinkler pipes freeze and then burst earlier this month. No one was home at the time, and the damage to his house is extreme. "It looked like a rain forest. There was water coming out of every receptacle and light fixture, and everything in the ceiling," says Mayes.

Nolensville has required home sprinkler systems in new construction since 2004, but many systems were not insulated properly. Some homeowners are trying to correct the problem. They are following expert advice by placing additional insulation on top of the sprinkler pipes in their attics.

Others are taking a more unusual approach. Many sprinkler systems in Nolensville are connected to a toilet. Occasional flushing may help circulate water on cold nights.

There are even homeowners who are turning off their sprinkler systems and draining them. This will leave their homes susceptible to fire.

Sadly it's too late for Cannon Mayes. Nearly everything in his home had to be torn out. There is at least $100,000 dollars in damage, and it will take four to six months to make repairs. He'll make sure the insulation is done properly in the future. "You've got to have more insulation on top of the pipes than under it," says Mayes,

If you have a fire sprinkler system, it's important to know where your sprinkler shut-off valve is located. It may be in the garage. If a pipe breaks you'll want to shut off your water immediately, and then drain the remaining water out of your system.

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