Preventing frozen pipes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Preventing frozen pipes

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- A sudden drop in temperature can put your water meter and pipes at risk.

Experts say now is the time to be on guard.

"People need to take a hard look at their ventilation system in their homes, as it relates to where their plumbing is located, making sure that where the water pipes are and the meters that they're properly heated and that proper ventilation is completed," Dubuque Water Department manager Bob Green said.

Although some suggest keeping a faucet running while on vacation, Green said that can run up your water bill or - worse - cause home damage if there's an overflow.

"Typically, snowbirds would call in and notify us that they would want water shut off in their homes," Green said. "They would also, then, at that time winterize their home to protect it from freezing."

Whether plastic or metal, your pipes are susceptible to damage if they're exposed to cold drafts of air near a window or crawl space, and Green said there are warning signs.

"Typically, if they were to turn on their cold water faucet and the water seemed extremely cold to touch, that would be an indicator that water would be close to its freezing point," he said.

He recommends insulating those pipes is they are in danger of freezing.

If pipes do freeze, Green said, you can thaw them with heat tape, by simply raising the room temperature or you "may want to contact a plumber for guidance on how to proceed, because that pipe could be froze and could be cracked, and should they thaw it on their own, they could experience severe problems with leakage into the home."

Green said homeowners are responsible for keeping their water meters from breaking, and the new water meters Dubuque is installing could cost more than $200 to replace.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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