(Cha già José photo via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0.)
With temperatures predicted to drop below 0 in the Mon-Yough area this week, the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County has issued tips for keeping water pipes from freezing:
Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses, so freeze conditions don't burst the faucet or pipe to which the hose is connected
Insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas (garages, attics, crawl spaces) before freezing temperatures arrive
Consider installing "heat tape" or "heat cable" on all exposed water lines. Heat tape can be found at hardware and home improvement stores.
Seal off access doors, air vents, and cracks, but do not plug air vents or exhaust vents used by furnaces and water heaters.
Cover outdoor water meters or consider letting a small trickle of water run from a faucet
If pipes freeze, do not, under any circumstances, use an open flame (such as a propane torch) to thaw them out. Use a hair dryer on its lowest setting, and wave the warm air back and forth along the pipe. A space heater also can be helpful. Do not heat only one spot on a pipe, as that can cause it to burst.
Pipes also can be thawed by wrapping the frozen section with rags or towels and pouring hot water over them.
Be careful when heating a water line, the authority cautions. The pipe may already be broken, and when the ice melts, water could come pouring out. Be ready to run for the shutoff valve if necessary.
For additional tips, visit https://www.mawc.org/csa/protect-pipes-freezing or https://mailchi.mp/mawc.org/newsletter-alert-protect-pipes-from-freezing
Originally published January 29, 2019.