County: Avoid plumbing woes during big chill

Taking precautions can help prevent costly frozen pipes

ImageWeather officials are predicting a combination of bitter cold temperatures and wind across the county from tonight into Wednesday, Jan. 8 – dangerous conditions that could wreak havoc with plumbing, county officials said.

In a news release, the county suggested that being prepared and informed could help avoid the messy and often expensive issue of frozen pipes. “To help prevent frozen pipes, open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing,” said Ed Atkins, director of the Chester County Department of Emergency Services. “Running water through the pipes, even at a trickle, can help prevent pipes from freezing.”

In addition, the county recommends keeping thermostats set to the same temperature day and night, and if you are going away, do not turn your thermostat down lower than 55 degrees.

To thaw frozen pipes, first open a faucet and keep it open. As you treat the frozen pipe, running water through the pipe will help melt the ice in the pipe. It is suggested to apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe or an electric hair dryer, or to wrap pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use any electrical devices while standing in water; it may cause electrocution, and do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or other open flame device, the release said. If you can’t locate the frozen pipe or the frozen area is inaccessible, call a licensed plumber.

The county also suggests determining in advance where your water shut-off valve is located so if a pipe does burst, you can shut the main water off until the pipe has been fixed. This may prevent expensive of water damage, the release said.



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