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Brrrrrr: Watch For Freezing Pipes, Icy Roads

Temperatures have dropped into the single digits already this week – here are some tips.


Baby, it’s cold outside, and it’s going to get colder.

On the roads, that can lead to icy conditions, as road salt doesn’t work as well in temperatures below 20 degrees. Coventry's Department of Public Works will be monitoring roadway ice accumulation, but it’s something to keep in mind on walkways around your home too.

You might want to try calcium chloride on your walkways, which works at lower temperatures. You can pick some up at Benny’s.

Frozen pipes are another problem, especially for those of us in older houses. If you have pipes that are near exposed areas, follow the tips below.

The other big priority is, of course, staying warm. If you do not have enough money to pay for heat, there is help. Contact the Coventry Department of Human Services to inquire about income-based heating assistance.

For those with heating oil, now is NOT the time to run out. Check your supply now and make arrangements immediately if you need a delivery. Click here to check out our business directory to find contact information for oil companies in town.

The information on freezing pipes below comes from the Red Cross:

Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the "strength" of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.

Prevention:

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
  • Remedies:

    • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
    • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
    • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
    • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
    • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

     

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