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Fort Scott Water Department What to Do When Pipes Freeze & Tips to Keep Pipes from FreezingThe Facts About Frozen Pipes
Many mistakenly believe that frozen pipes are only an issue for those in typically cold climates.However, homes in typically warmer climates are more vulnerable because the pipes may not beproperly insulated against frigid temperatures.
Frozen pipes are a problem by themselves because they prevent water flow, but even worse, frozenpipes can eventually burst, causing damage and potential flooding. There are some easy steps youcan take to help prevent this problem from occurring. Here are some tips to keep pipes in your homefrom freezing.
Typical Symptoms of a Frozen Water Line:
A water line may be frozen if one or more of the water fixtures in a building will not providewater. If some faucets are dry and others still work, heat can be applied to the affected area orcontact a licensed plumber to assist in thawing of the line. If all faucets in a building are dry, contactthe Water Department, this condition suggest the possibility of a frozen water meter. The WaterDepartment will check and thaw out frozen meters. The Water Department will also respond to shutwater off at the meter in case of frozen or burst water lines. You may call the Water Office at223-8133 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or after-hours call the Water Plant at 223-5160 or PoliceDispatch at 223-1700.
Tip #1: Keep the Heat OnIf you are leaving for an extended period, make sure that the heat is kept on to your home. Leavingthe heat on can help prevent pipes from freezing, maintain a setting above 50 degrees Fahrenheit isa good idea. This should provide enough heat to keep the pipes warm and to prevent any water insidefrom freezing.
Tip #2: Allow Faucet to DripIf you are afraid a pipe will freeze, you can allow the faucet to drip slightly. Allowing thefaucet to be open like this will keep the water moving and reduce the chance of freezing, it alsorelieves pressure in the system, so if a pipe freezes, the pressure on the pipe will be reduced, itis the pressure that is created between the blockage and the faucet that causes the pipe to burst.
Tip #3: Keep Interior Doors OpenPipes are often located in cabinets. When the temperatures drop, it is a good idea to keep thesecabinet doors open so that the heat from the rest of the house can keep the pipes warm as well. Youshould also keep all interior doors open so that the heat can flow throughout the home.
Tip #4: Seal Up Cracks and HolesYou should caulk any holes or cracks that exist near pipes. This should be done on both interiorand exterior walls. Doing so can help keep the cold air out and the warm air in.
Tip #5: Appling HeatWhen thawing out pipes with heat, do not use open flame sources, use of radiant or forced air heatcan be applied, but be prepared to shut water off in case a pipe begins leaking while or when it'sthawed out.
Also, PVC and Poly pipes can become soft if too much heat is applied. For pipes that are easilyaccessible, electrical heating tape may be an option to keep them from freezing. This tape can beapplied directly to the pipe. There are two types of heating tape. One type of heating tapeturns on and off by itself when it senses heat is needed. The other type of heating tape needs tobe plugged in when heat is needed and unplugged when not in use. Keep in mind these products can bedangerous, so you must follow product directions and safety procedures exactly, and do not leavepipes unattended while thawing.
Tip #6: Add Extra InsulationPipes located in areas that do not have proper insulation, such as basements or attics, may needextra insulation to keep from freezing. If you have had a problem with pipes freezing anywhere inyour home, extra insulation could be the cure. Pipes can be fitted with foam rubber or fiberglasssleeves to help decrease the chances of freezing. Additional insulation can also be added to wallsand ceilings to keep the pipes warm.