Frozen pipes — don’t let it happen to you

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Without the insulating property of snow many in the valley have experienced some frozen water pipe issues this winter. Thankfully, temps haven’t plummeted too low this winter but still, without an adequate coverage of snow on the ground around the house, homeowners might be in danger of making that expensive call to a plumber.

The Town of Jackson sent along a few handy tips that may prove useful: Each year the Town of Jackson Public Works Department receives many calls concerning frozen water pipes. Frozen water pipes can result in costly damages and disrupted lives.

An eighth-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day, wrecking floors, furniture and keepsakes. Both plastic (PVC) and copper pipes may burst.

During freezing temperatures

  • Maintain water flow by allowing cold water to run into the drain. Keeping a small trickle of water (the size of a pencil lead) flowing from a faucet farthest from the intake can be effective.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow more heat to surround the pipes near outer walls.
  • Leave heat turned on at all times. Heat should not be lower than 50 degrees.
  • Plan ahead if you will be away from home for an extended time. Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it’s warm enough to prevent freezing.
  • Check your crawl space and make sure your pipes are properly insulated and your venting in closed.
  • Trailer skirting should be in place.

Oh no! You already have a leak

  • Don’t take chances. If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a certified plumber.
  • If you detect that your water pipes have frozen and burst, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. (Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shut-off valve is and how to open and close it.)
  • NEVER try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame. Water damage is preferable to burning down your house. You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with the warm air from a hairdryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
  • DO NOT use electrical appliances in areas of standing water. Be aware of electrical shock and be safe!
  • Contact the Public Works Department, 307-733-3079 if you are not able to shut off the water at the main valve.
  • Contact your insurance agent to notify them of the damages.
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