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Keep Your Pipes From Freezing

West Virginia American Water Company Offers You Tips
By Mark Hallburn
Publisher, PutnamLIVE.com

Winter weather means more than sledding and snowballs. It can also mean frozen pipes. Worse, those pipes can burst, wreaking havoc in your home.

West Virginia American Water Company wants to help. The utility is offering the following tips to keep the water running without freezing pipes:

Before cold weather sets in:

• Know what areas of your home, such as basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms and outside walls, are most vulnerable to freezing.

• Eliminate sources of cold air near lines by fixing windows, insulating walls, closing crawl spaces and eliminating drafts.

• Protect exposed pipes by wrapping them with heat tape or insulation available at hardware stores. If you have installed heat tape on exposed pipes, inspect the tape for cracks or fraying and make any needed repairs.

• If your meter is outside, make sure your meter lid is closed tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation, so don’t disturb it.

• Make sure everyone in your home knows where the main water shut-off valve is and how to turn it off and on. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.

• Disconnect garden hoses and, if you have an indoor valve for the outside faucet(s), shut it off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.

• To save wear and tear on your cooling system, drain any hoses and air conditioner pipes and check for excess water pooled in the equipment.

• Keep your water heater temperature around 120 degrees and install inexpensive low-flow shower heads to reduce hot water use. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees could reduce water heating costs too.

• Turn off and drain your irrigation systems.

• If no one will be home for an extended period of time during extreme winter weather,

consider turning your main valve off altogether and hiring a plumber to drain your system. That way, if your furnace quits working, there will be no water in your pipes to freeze. When temperatures consistently fall below freezing:

• Allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is typically low compared to the cost to repair a broken pipe.

• Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.

If your pipes freeze:

• Shut off the water immediately. Don’t attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints that will leak when thawed.

• Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat  directly to a pipe. You can use a space heater or hot water. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended, and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.

• Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.

To learn more, please visit us online at www.WestVirginiaAmWater.com or telephone 1-800-685-8660.

To view a video about keeping your pipes from freezing, please click here.

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