Winter Weather Preventive Action Tips


By Paul Johnson

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV KTWT-TV ) - With the temperatures hanging in the teens area city water departments are warning residents they may need to leave a trickle of water running to help make sure water pipes don't freeze up. Here are some other tips issued by the Boise Fire Department.

To Thaw Frozen Pipes:

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Locate the suspected frozen area of the water pipe. Likely places include pipes running against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt more ice in the pipe.
Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, or wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water.
Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

During Cold Weather, Take Preventive Action:

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 up out of the reach of children.
When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing because the temperature of the water running through it is above freezing.
Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both 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 going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF

Future Protection:

Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing. Pipes can be relocated by a professional if the home is remodeled.
Add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
When the weather warms up, check unused portions of your water system for freezing damage and leaks to avoid possible flooding damage from undetected cracked or broken pipes.
For more information, please contact a licensed plumber or building professional.

Other Tips

If you discover a water leak or burst pipe, it’s important that you stop the flow of water as soon as possible.

NEVER use a range or an oven as a supplemental heating device. This is a safety hazard and can be a source of potential toxic fumes.

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