Special to Iredell Free News

As our region prepares for a strong blast of freezing weather, Iredell Water reminds everyone how to prepare their homes to prevent their pipes from freezing.

Temperatures are predicted to be well below freezing. Frozen water expands, putting tremendous stress on the metal or plastic pipes. Usually, the pipes that freeze are exposed to the cold, like outdoor hose bibs or pipes in unheated, interior areas like garages or kitchen cabinets.

Here are a few preventive measures that can help:

♦ Tightly close doors and windows to the outside.
♦ Insulate pipes in unheated or drafty areas. Hardware and plumbing supply stores carry insulation to keep pipes from freezing.
♦ Shut off and drain the pipes leading to your outside faucets so no water is left to freeze, expand, and cause a leak in these lines.
♦ Know where your main shutoff valve is and label it. Minimize the potential for water damage by ensuring that everyone in the household knows how to shut off the water in case of an emergency.
♦ Open the cabinets beneath any place with a water supply, such as the kitchen and bathroom sinks. This will allow warm air to circulate. (Remove any toxic substances first if there are small children or pets in the home.)
♦ An especially helpful step you can take to prevent your pipes from freezing is to allow a faucet to slowly drip cold water. It does NOT need to be a running trickle. The faucet you choose to let drip should be the one that is the greatest distance from your main shutoff valve.

If you are concerned about the cost of leaving your faucet dripping, a moderate drip equaling one drop every two seconds results in just under one gallon of additional water usage per day.

The wind plays a big part in freezing pipes, so it is important for customers with crawl spaces to close the vents for the length of the deep freeze.

Many people lower the heat if they’re leaving their home to travel during the holidays. For this storm, we strongly suggest customers keep their heat at a higher temperature than normal.

Here are a few ways to spot and fix a frozen pipe:

♦ First, if you turn on a faucet and only have a trickle of water coming out or no water at all, and it has been very cold for a period of time, suspect a frozen pipe or meter.

♦ Next, identify whether the problem is throughout the house or in one area. If it’s only in one area of your household, you may be able to thaw the pipe by opening the cabinets and allowing the warmer air to circulate around the pipes.
♦ Never thaw a pipe with an open flame. You can use a hair dryer on low or a portable heater. Avoid using electrical appliances if there is standing water.
♦ Use warm water to soak towels then wrap the towels around the frozen pipes.
♦ If the problem persists, contact a licensed plumber for additional guidance.

1 thought on “Iredell Water offers tips to protect your pipes during deep freeze

  1. Insulating pipes would also keep them from freezing. You would pay less on your water and heating bill. You would also be helping the environment by conserving precious resources.

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