ORANGETOWN, N.Y. – The Orangetown Police Department offers the following tips from the American Red Cross to residents on handling frozen pipes during the winter:
- Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed.
- Remove, drain and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
- Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in those areas should be insulated.
- Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable" or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes.
- If there are water supply lines in the garage, keep the garage door closed.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to provide warm air to plumbing.
- When cold weather hits, let cold water drip from the faucet.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and night.
To thaw frozen pipes:
- 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 ice.
- Apply heat to the frozen 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 by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water.
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. Call a licensed plumber if unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible or if you cannot thaw the pipe.
Click here for more information on preventing and thawing frozen pipes.
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