Tips To Help Avoid Frozen, Burst Pipes
This week’s weather should be relatively mild, forecasters predict, but pipe-busting cold will be here soon.
Pennsylvania-American Water Company recently issued a series of tips to help homeowners prevent frozen and damaged pipes in the frigid cold this winter.
“Although Pennsylvania winters are difficult to predict, we can be sure that cold weather is coming,” said Jimmy Sheridan, Pennsylvania American’s vice president of operations.
The water company advises its customers to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of freezing and bursting pipes, which can prove costly, difficult and time-consuming to repair.
• Familiarize yourself with areas of your home most susceptible to freezing, such as basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms and outside walls.
• Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by repairing broken windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and eliminating drafts near doors.
• Locate your main water shut-off valve. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
• Protect your pipes and water meter. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or use electrical heat tracing wire; newspaper or fabric might also work. For outside meters, keep the lid to the meter pit closed tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation, so do not disturb it.
When temperatures are consistently at or below freezing:
• If you have pipes that are vulnerable to freezing, allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing.
• Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.
If your pipes freeze:
• Shut off the water immediately. Do not attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints.
• Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to a pipe. You can use a hair dryer, space heater or hot water. Do not leave space heaters unattended.
• Do not use kerosene heaters or open flames to thaw pipes inside your home.
•Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.
The American Red Cross also issued a series of tips to prevent pipes from freezing. They include:
• Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
• Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children.
• When the weather is very cold outside, let cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
• Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
• If you will be away from home during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set no lower than 55 degrees F.
— ERIC MARK