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With the cold weather season approaching, taking a little time to make sure your water pipes are ready for the winter could be helpful, says Kentucky American Water.
Keith Cartier, vice president of operations for KAW, stresses that it’s important to make preparations to prevent water damage from frozen and burst pipes before temperatures plunge.
“When water freezes, it expands and takes up more space. That is why water that freezes inside a water pipe can cause it to burst. Burst water pipes can cause a lot of damage to a home or business, and we want to do everything we can to help our customers avoid that inconvenience and, perhaps, costly repairs,” he explained.
“When our field crews are called to investigate why a customer has no water during cold weather, frozen lines are one of the first things we look for. Most often frozen lines occur in areas such as crawl spaces or outside walls, where unprotected plumbing tends to be more vulnerable to the elements,” said Doug Brock, manager of field operations.
Tips to winterize:
‣ Search your house for un-insulated pipes, especially in unheated areas. Check attics, crawl spaces and outside walls. Consider wrapping pipes with insulation sleeves. Another option is electric heating tape, but follow manufacturers’ instructions carefully to avoid a fire hazard.
‣ Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations with caulking to keep cold air away from pipes, especially where cable TV or phone lines enter the house.
‣ When below-freezing temperatures are forecast, keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets that are supplied by pipes running through an unheated or unprotected space. A steady stream of water about the size of a pencil lead can keep water from freezing.
Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
‣ If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly. Close them when water appears.
‣ Make certain that the water to outside faucets is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained. Don’t forget to disconnect and drain garden hoses.
‣ Drain and shut off entirely the water to any unoccupied residence such as a summer or vacation home. A loss of power during a winter storm could cause pipes to freeze. If you intend to leave a property entirely without heat, have the water turned off at the water main, and drain all water from pipes and fixtures to prevent the possibility of damage.
‣ Set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees if you’re going out of town. Although you may be able to get away with a lower temperature, this setting is considered to be safe for pipes.
‣ Consider wrapping your water heater in an insulation blanket. While not really at danger for freezing, this can lower your heating bills.