Baby it's getting cold outside! Now, keep your pipes from freezing

(MGN Online)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Since temperatures are expected to reach the mid-teens and even feel like it's in the single-digits Lynchburg's Department of Water Resources is reminding you of cold weather plumbing tips to keep your pipes from freezing.

To keep pipes from freezing:

  • Seal all air leaks that may let an icy blast reach your pipes
  • Wrap or insulate exposed pipes (any plumbing located in a garage or any other unheated building or pipes located next to an outside wall)
  • Keep the water meter box lid closed to prevent the meter from freezing (report broken or missing lids by calling the Department of Water Resources at 434-455-4250)
  • Leave cabinets with pipes inside open to allow heat in the room to keep them from freezing
  • Disconnect hoses, turn off valves to outside faucets and then drain any water in the faucets insulated, you should consider leaving the cabinet doors open to allow the heat in the room to keep them from freezing
  • If your house has a crawl space, close all air vents located in the foundation wall to keep pipes in the crawl space from being exposed to the cold air.

If your pipes freeze:

Open the cold water faucet nearest the frozen pipe to relieve the pressure of expanding that may cause a pipe to burst, call the Department of Water Resources if you have no water at all.

Thawing a frozen pipe:

Gentle heat from a light bulb, hairdryer on a warm setting, or heat tape is good. If the pipe is already cracked from freezing, as the water thaws, it may begin to spray out risking danger of electrocution if it sprays the appliance you are using for thawing; do not use a torch or other open flame.

Find your main water cut-off valve:

The Department of Water Resources says to look for this now and mark it. Also, make sure everyone in the house knows where it is.

Most of the water cut-off valves are located on the wall where the water enters the house.

  • Know the areas in your home where water pipes are most vulnerable to freezing: crawl spaces, outside walls, outside faucets, unheated rooms, basements, garages or attics
  • Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines; make your basement airtight by repairing broken windows, insulating walls and closing off crawl-space vents and doors
  • Drain water lines to outside faucets; disconnect garden hoses and, if practical, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets
  • Keep your thermostat at 55 degrees or higher and if you plan to be away for an extended period of time, ask a neighbor or family member to check the house regularly
  • Turn off and drain irrigation systems and backflow devices, wrap backflow devices with insulating material
  • Insulate hot and cold pipes in unheated areas, such as the garage, crawl space or attic
  • Open cupboard doors under sinks, especially where plumbing is in outside walls, to let interior heat warm the pipes
  • Place a lighted bulb in small unheated areas where water pipes are located
  • Keep attached garage doors closed
  • Temporarily, keep a steady drip of both hot and cold water at an inside faucet farthest from the meter; this keeps water moving, making it less likely to freeze
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