Prevent Frozen Pipes; Run Your Faucet to Provide Pressure Relief

With the temperature expected to remain below freezing for the next several days, homeowners are urged to take steps to prevent frozen pipes. When water freezes, it expands, and when it expands within a pipe, it could burst and seriously damage property.

Letting a faucet drip during extreme cold weather can prevent a pipe from bursting. Opening a faucet will provide relief from the excessive pressure that builds between the faucet and the ice blockage when freezing occurs. If there is no excessive water pressure, there is no burst pipe, even if the water inside the pipe freezes.

If you open a faucet and no water comes out, don’t take any chances; call a plumber immediately. If a water pipe bursts, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve and leave the faucets open until repairs are completed.

Frozen pipes shouldn’t be your only concern, however; with high heating costs, many are also trying alternative sources of home heating, which, if used carelessly, can contribute to residential fires.

For those using kerosene heaters, be sure that kerosene heaters are legal in your area; be sure your heater is in good working condition; inspect exhaust parts for carbon buildup; be sure the heater has an emergency shut off in case the heater is tipped over. Never use fuel burning appliances without proper
room venting as burning fuel can produce deadly fumes.

For wood stoves and fireplaces, be sure the fireplace or stove is installed properly with adequate clearance. Wood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be laboratory tested. Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.