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Kentucky Division of Water offers cold weather water pipe protection tips: Prevent pipes from freezing, bursting
FRANKFORT - With frigid temperatures and wind chills expected to continue through the week, the Kentucky Division of Water reminds citizens to protect the water systems in their homes and businesses from freezing.
When water freezes, it expands. When water freezes in a pipe and expands enough, the pipe bursts, water escapes and serious damage results. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are all vulnerable to freezing, especially if there are cracks or openings that allow cold outside air to flow across the pipes.
To keep pipes from freezing, wrap hot and cold water pipes in insulation or layers of newspaper, covering the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture. Allow a trickle of water to run from a cold faucet that is farthest from the water meter or one that has frozen in the past. This will keep the water moving so that it cannot freeze and will help relieve pressure should ice form in the pipes. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
If pipes freeze, remove the insulation, completely open all the faucets and pour hot water over the pipes or wrap them with towels soaked in hot water, starting where they are most exposed to the cold. You may also use a hand-held hair dryer or electric heating pad if there is no standing water. Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.
Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or other open flame device to thaw a pipe. A blowtorch can make water in a frozen pipe boil and cause the pipe to explode. All open flames in homes present a serious fire danger, as well as a severe risk of exposure to lethal carbon monoxide.
If you are unable to locate or reach the frozen area, call a licensed plumber.
When away from the house for an extended period of time, consider draining the water system completely. To drain the system, shut off the main valve and turn on every water fixture (both hot and cold lines) until water stops running. When returning to the house, turn on the main valve and let each fixture run until the pipes are full again.
Louisville Water Company: Simple Steps Can Prevent Frozen Water Pipes
As the temperatures dip below freezing, Louisville Water Company reminds customers to take steps to avoid frozen water lines inside their homes and businesses.
Wrap up for winter
Wrap exposed pipes with insulating material. Pipes under kitchen sinks, in crawl spaces, near windows or in unheated basements are areas susceptible to freezing.
Locate and tag the water shut-off valve
The shut-off valve controls all of the water into your home. If a pipe bursts, knowing the location of your shut-off valve and how to turn it off, can save valuable time and prevent water damage.
The shut-off valve may be located in the basement, under the kitchen sink, in a utility closet, near the hot water heater or even under the house in a crawl space.
Once you locate the main shut-off valve, mark it so you can locate it during an emergency. Louisville Water offers free, water-proof identifiers that attach to the valve. Customers can get the tags at Lousiville Water’s downtown office, 550 South Third Street.
Make sure you have it covered
If your house has a crawl space, cover the outside vents to prevent winter winds form entering and freezing pipes. Keep the garage door closed if you have a slab foundation since some water pipes are located under concrete floors in the garage.
Louisville Water maintains over 4,100 miles of water main throughout its distribution system. In addition, the company is responsible for over 22,000 public fire hydrants. Prior to the winter season, crews train in winter safety procedures, winterize fire hydrants and adjust the company’s inventory to prepare for any cold weather issues with water mains.
ABOUT LOUISVILLE WATER COMPANY
Louisville Water provides a safe, supply of drinking water to over 850,000 people in Louisville Metro and parts of Bullitt, Oldham, Nelson, Shelby and Spencer Counties. On average, the company supplies 124 million gallons of drinking water each day. 2010 marks the 150th anniversary of Louisville Water Company. The company started as Kentucky’s first public water provider on October 16, 1860.