Temperatures Dropping; Keep Water Pipes Warm
February 9, 2012
With temperatures set to drop this weekend, the City of Madison Fire Department is reminding residents to make sure water pipes are protected from freezing temperatures.
Firefighters responded to two separate calls last weekend where frozen water pipes burst and caused significant damage. In one incident, the homeowner had been gone for three weeks and had turned off the furnace in his absence.
The City of Madison Fire Department reminds residents:
•If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.
•If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Locate the suspected frozen area of the water pipe. Likely places include pipes running 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 more 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 wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water.
•Never use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device. 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.
•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 cannot 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.
•Consider adding insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces to maintain warmer temperatures.
- Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947