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Take measures to protect pipes during extreme cold

January 4th, 2014 8:17 pm by J. H. Osborne

Take measures to protect pipes during extreme cold

National Weather Service forecasters project temperatures well below freezing beginning overnight Sunday and continuing through Tuesday.

Experts say such an extended period of cold means water pipes may freeze and burst.

But protecting them can be as simple as running a trickle of water.

Mobile homes without proper insulation and protection from wind chills are most vulnerable to frozen and ruptured water pipes.

The best skirting is solid with no vents, no holes to allow air to get up underneath your trailer. That’s because wind chill is the biggest threat with freezing pipes, not necessarily the cold.

But if you’ve not been able to get to the pipes to insulate them, leave a faucet dripping. If you have a drip, that will relieve the excess pressure and decrease the likelihood your home’s pipes will burst.

You can take other precautionary steps as well to try and keep pipes as warm as possible.

For example, seal openings that could let in outside drafts to areas where pipes are located — and/or open cabinetry inside to allow warmer air to circulate closer to the pipes.

One local plumber told the Times-News that on extremely cold nights, he runs a pencil-size stream of water, turning on half cold and half hot water to help prevent freezing — turning on the hot water because it tends to freeze more quickly than cold.

He also urged homeowners to makes sure outside faucets are well covered and protected to prevent freezing at that point.

If your pipes do freeze, he said, you should first shut the water off to the house, either inside the house or at the meter. You should also shut off your water heater, especially if it’s an electric version.

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