When it’s this cold, keep your pipes from freezing. Here’s how.
SALT LAKE CITY — It’s so cold today (Jan. 30) that plumbers are expecting calls anytime from customers needing service because of frozen pipes. The overnight low temperature is expected to be 3 degrees Fahrenheit. Duane Nielsen, plumbing manager at Any Hour Services, talks to Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic about preventing pipes from freezing.
Cold, frigid and frosty
The National Weather Service had this warning for today . . . Dangerously cold wind chills expected. For Eastern Box
Elder County, wind chills from 10 below to 20 below zero, coldest near Tremonton. For the Cache Valley, wind chills as low as 30 below zero . . .
Keep pipes inside from freezing when it’s so cold
Nielsen said to prevent pipes from freezing, open up a faucet on a fixture such as a sink or a bathtub, which you don’t use as often as other fixtures, and let it drip, drip, drip but not drizzle.
“That will help keep water flowing through the pipes and keep them from freezing,” he said. “It can be either a hot or a cold faucet but we like to do it on one that you don’t use very often.”
If you have a sink on an outside wall, open the cabinets below the sink to allow the warmth from the home to enter the cabinet and prevent the pipes from freezing.
“Almost every one of our kitchen sinks in Utah is on an outside wall,” Nielsen said.
“I’ll tell you this,” Dave said. “This might be the first time I’ve ever heard a plumber talking about wanting a drippy faucet.”
Nielsen added that turning up the furnace in the basement is also a good way to keep pipes from freezing when outside temperatures are subzero or close to it.
Pipes outside the home
“What about the outdoor faucets?” Dave asked.
“Most of them that we have on our homes are called frost-free faucets. And as long as you’ve disconnected all your hoses, which we all ought to do in late October, November. Disconnect your hose and the water drains out. They will be fine,” Nielsen said.
“Are there particular homes that were built during a particular decade that may be — the pipes haven’t been changed out or updated — that are more prone to freezing?” Debbie asked.
“Copper are the ones that are the most prone to freezing and bursting,” Nielsen said.
Although copper pipes can last 40 to 60 years, in areas where the ground is known to freeze, it can be dangerous as copper piping will crack easily the moment that it is frozen. Also, copper piping fittings are glued, which could potentially involve glue getting into the piping and therefore the water system, according to crackedslab.com.
“Currently most of the homes we’re doing since the middle 90s for sure are what’s called PEX piping,” Nielsen said, “and it’s a plastic piping that’s flexible, and it actually will expand and then contract back to its normal size. It’s a lot more forgiving . . . but also a lot harder to find where the frozen part is and thaw it out.”
Related reading: Frigid temperatures delaying some school start times
Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.
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