Preventing Frozen Water Lines

By: Grady Herzog

It seems like yesterday when we sent out our newsletter for December 2010. As we look back on the early months of 2011 it is very apparent that the coldest weather of the year will soon be upon us. With the lower temperatures once again comes the need to review the precautions necessary to help prevent frozen water lines. Below are several items which can easily be overlooked and the damage and resulting repairs can be very expensive.

Fire sprinkler systems can cause serious damage if not properly maintained. Auxiliary heat sources should be checked so they are working properly to keep a wet pipe system from freezing.  The addition of heat tape to piping that is over unprotected porches can help ensure the pipes there are protected. On a dry pipe system, the lines should be purged to remove any condensation that may have gathered in the piping. Since the heads are oriented down, condensation can gather at the head and freeze causing leaks or a broken pipe.

Building waterlines on outside walls are also prone to freezing.  At outside faucets, remove hoses and cover with a frost proof cover. In severe cold, leave the faucet open just enough to allow for a steady drip. On the inside, open cabinet doors and closets where possible to allow the heat to warm the wall from the inside. If extreme freezing weather or the possibility of freezing rain and power outages occurs, leave faucets on at a steady drip in the entire building to help prevent freezing in  case of a power outage.

Irrigation systems typically are not thought of since most are cut way back on watering times.  They do still run though and the water accumulating in unsealed cracks in paving and sidewalks can cause damage if it freezes. There is also the possibility of someone falling if they slip on an ice covered walkway. Freeze protectors are required by most cities to prevent the system from running in the event of freezing temperatures and citations can be issued if water on public streets and sidewalks is observed.

I hope everyone has a safe and prosperous 2012. If you need additional information or if we can assist you in getting your systems services for better protection please feel free to contact us.

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