Thursday, January 15, 2009

Metro offers tips to avoid frozen pipes

By Jenny Upchurch • THE TENNESSEAN • January 15, 2009 Friday morning's temperature will dip near zero in Middle Tennessee, prompting Metro Water Services to warn its Nashville customers to take steps to keep pipes from freezing. Here are tips from Metro and other agencies: >> Open bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors if you have a water pipe close to an exterior wall. This will allow your home's warmer air to reach the water pipes. >> If you have had problems with frozen pipes in your home in the past, Metro Water Services suggests that you run a small trickle of water, about the size of a pencil lead, from a cold water faucet. It's best to use a faucet not in regular use so someone does not turn it off. >> If you're going away for a weekend trip or a house is vacant, make sure to leave the heat on. Don't set it any lower than 55 degrees or your pipes may be in danger of freezing or bursting. Sealing up your house's exterior can help, too. >> Cover foundation vents. >> Insulate exposed water pipes. >> Seal all cracks in exterior walls and foundation. >> Remove all exterior hose connections and insulate the hose bibs. If the worst happens To be ready for frozen pipes, keep this in mind: >> Locate the water shut-off valve inside your home. The ability to quickly close this valve may prevent damage if an interior pipe bursts. The shut-off valve may be in the basement, under the kitchen sink, in a utility closet, near the hot water heater, or in a crawl space. If you think you have found it, be sure to test it. If you cannot locate your inside shut-off valve or do not have one installed, contact a plumber. >> Never try to thaw a pipe with a blowtorch or any other open flame. Do not use electrical appliances such as heaters in areas of standing water. If you suspect your pipes are freezing, wrap towels that have been soaked in hot water around cold pipe sections.

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