Posted on February 8, 2021 at 11:59 am
With temperatures expected to be in their teens and single digits for the next week, here are some tips from the Red Cross on how to deal with frozen pipes.
Water has a unique property in that it expands when it freezes. This extension puts tremendous pressure on everything it contains, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break.
• Pipes exposed to extreme cold, such as outdoor hose bibs, pool utility lines, and sprinkler lines.
• Water supply lines in unheated indoor areas such as basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages or kitchen cupboards.
• Pipes that run along exterior walls with little or no insulation.
Before the onset of cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing by following the recommendations below:
• Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close the indoor valves that feed the hose bibs outdoors. Open the outer hose bibs to allow the water to drain away. Keep the outside valve open to allow the water remaining in the pipe to expand without breaking the pipe.
• Add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces. The insulation maintains higher temperatures in these areas.
• Look for other areas of the house that have water pipes in unheated areas. Look in the garage and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
• Consider installing certain water pipe insulation products, such as a “pipe socket,” or installing UL Listed “heat tapes,” “heat cables,” or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspapers can provide some insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼ inch newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that do not normally experience frequent or prolonged freezing temperatures.
• Consider laying exposed pipes for better protection from freezing.
Prevent frozen pipes
• Keep garage doors closed when there are water pipes in the garage.
• Open the cabinet doors for the kitchen and bathroom so that the warmer air can circulate around the pipes. Make sure harmful detergents and household chemicals get out of the reach of children.
• If the weather is very cold outside, drain the cold water from the faucet, which is supplied by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even with a trickle – prevents the pipes from freezing.
• Keep the thermostat at the same temperature during the day and night. If you temporarily stop using lower night-time temperatures, this can lead to higher heating bills. However, you can prevent a much more costly repair if the pipes freeze and burst.
• If you go out in cold weather, keep the heating in your home on and set a temperature no less than 55 ° F.
Allow frozen pipes to thaw
• If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle of it comes out, you suspect a frozen pipe. Possible places for frozen pipes are outside walls or places where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
• Keep the tap open. When you handle the frozen pipe and the frozen area starts to melt, water will flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
• Apply heat to the pipe section by wrapping an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, portable space heater (keep away from combustible materials), or pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or any other device with an open flame.
Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you cannot find the frozen area, if the frozen area is inaccessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, contact a licensed plumber.
• Check all the other faucets in your house to see if you have any additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, so can others.
GRAPHIC BY DAVID ROWE / TIMES NEWS
Frozen pipes can be a nightmare for homeowners in winter. Follow these tips to keep the water flowing in your faucet. METROGRAPHY
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