With temperatures below freezing, water meters can freeze interrupting services. To avoid that, it would be wise to run a small (pencil lead diameter) stream of water in your house if you believe that your plumbing is susceptible to freezing. Just that small amount of movement will normally prevent water lines from freezing. A unit of water (748 gallons) cost $0.64 (an inexpensive way to keep your water in service.)
If you experience interruption of water services, before calling a plumber, please contact the City Water Department at 541-523-6541 or if it is after hours, please contact Baker County Consolidated Dispatch at 541-523-3644.
The article below was obtained from the American Red Cross website at http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm/preventing-thawing-frozen-pipes
Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes
Being prepared and informed may help you to avoid the messy and often expensive issue of frozen pipes. The American Red Cross provides information and suggestions around how to prevent water pipes in the home from freezing, and how to thaw them if they do freeze.
Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem
Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the "strength" of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:
- Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
- Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
- Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
- Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼" of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
During Cold Weather, Take Preventative 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.
- 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 55° F.
To Thaw Frozen Pipes
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include 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 ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
- 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 cannot 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.
- 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.
- For more information, please contact a licensed plumber or building professional.
The additional information below was obtained from eHow, "How to Protect Water Pipes During Freezing Temperatures", by Shelley Moore, eHow Contributor. http://www.ehow.com/print/how_5580892_protect-pipes-during-freezing-temperatures.html
- Disconnect all outdoor hoses, which allow water to drain from the connected pipes. When a hose is attached, one overnight freeze can cause the faucet or the pipes to crack.
- Seal all cracks and holes with caulk or foam sealant, and seal or cover any access doors that can go unused during the cold spell. You can cover doors with plastic and hay or straw bales work well against crawlspace doors.
- Measure the diameter of any pipes at risk of freezing. Buy matching-sized foam pipe insulation from a home improvement store or hardware store. This insulation is split down the middle and you just slip it over the pipes. You may need to cut the insulation to fit certain lengths.
- Wrap heat tape instead of foam around pipes that may be especially susceptible to freezing, such as those in completely unheated areas. Plug the tape into an approved electrical outlet when the weather is predicted to turn cold enough for the pipes to freeze.
- Add heat with a small electric heater controlled with a thermostat, or, in small areas, add a light bulb screwed into an attachment plug base to provide enough heat to prevent freezing.
- Open cupboard doors under all sinks in the house, which allows heat to reach water pipes in crawlspaces and other connected areas.
- If temperatures drop very low and you cannot adequately protect the pipes, leave faucets trickling to keep water flowing through the pipes. During this type of weather, turn on faucets full force every two or three hours to check for any slowdown, possibly indicating a freezing pipe.
- If a plumbing pipe does freeze, thaw it with a hair dryer on a low setting. Thawing the pipe too quickly can cause it to break.
- Close the whole house water shut-off valve if you plan to leave for an extended period during very cold weather.
- Consider adding a permanent heat source to a crawlspace problem area if you live in a climate with harsh winters. An opening in a warm air supply duct can prevent freezing pipes, and the opening can be capped off when the weather is not so extreme.
Add a comment