Friday, December 18, 2009

Cold Weather Helpful Hints from Ashland Fire

As we've seen recently, temperatures can drop below freezing at any time, Ashland residents should take precautions now to prevent their pipes from freezing. When unprotected water lines are exposed to freezing temperatures for several hours, the water in the pipes also freezes. As water freezes, it expands and can cause pipes to crack or split, which can lead to significant leaks that may cause extensive water loss and substantial property damage. This is true with domestic water supply, fire sprinkler piping, and irrigation piping.

Ashland Fire and Rescue offers these tips to help prevent their pipes from freezing:

• Keep kitchen and bath pipes exposed to warm air by leaving cabinet doors open during periods of extreme cold.
• Don’t turn the thermostat too low or off when leaving for work or extended absences. Keep the temperature set at a normal nighttime setting.
• Locate the master water shut-off valve, label it, and make sure everyone in the family knows where it is.
• If residents are going to be gone from their homes for any length of time, shut off the water supply at the main valve; then turn on faucets and flush the toilets to drain the pipes. Drained water can be collected and used to water house plants or other domestic uses.

• Disconnect and drain all outdoor hoses. Detaching the hose allows water to drain from the pipe.
• Protect faucets with insulated covers available at hardware and building supply stores.
• Winterize irrigation systems by draining and shutting off water supplies.
• Close all windows and doors near water lines, including garage doors.
• Caulk around pipes where they enter the house.
• Close foundation vents and seal cracks in the basement, crawl spaces or along outside walls.
• Wrap pipes in unheated areas with weatherproof insulation. Don’t leave any gaps.
• Use heat tape to wrap pipes. Consult a professional if necessary.

John Karns, Fire Chief