Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Don't add broken water pipes to your winter woes


February 1, 2018

It’s that time of year, when many families allow their faucets to drip during particularly cold days, nights and even weekends in an effort to prevent frozen pipes. This preventative measure can be costly for everyone in terms of wasted natural resources.

The South Platte Natural Resources District (SPNRD) suggests using a bucket or pitcher to collect dripping water for later use – to water plants, flush a toilet or provide drinking water for your family or pets.

Generally leaving one faucet open to drip is enough, and the faucet chosen should be the one furthest from where the water lines enter the home. As water flows to that faucet, it is flowing through all of the pipes.

Other measures to ensure pipes remain unbroken, and avoid costly repairs, include wrapping them with insulation. This works well on outdoor pipes as well as indoor pipes. Wrapping indoor pipes has the added benefit of producing hotter water, faster.

Residents are urged to consider specific products made to insulate pipes, such as a pipe sleeve or UL-listed heat tape to exposed water pipes.

According to the American Red Cross, however, newspaper can provide protection as well. Even one quarter inch of newspaper can offer significant insulation in areas that rarely experience prolonged temperatures below freezing.

The American Red Cross further suggests keeping garage doors closed if the garage has water supply lines.

Additionally, leaving kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open to allow warmer air to circulate around water pipes may help. However, they caution that cleaners, chemicals and other potentially hazardous items be removed, especially is there are children in the home.

If you going away from home during cold weather, leave the heat on and set to a minimum of 55 degrees to prevent broken pipes.

The SPNRD also suggests that everyone know where the interior and exterior water shut off valves are located. In the event of a broken pipe, turning the water off to your home could save you hundreds in repairs and clean-up costs!


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