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Winter is coming: First freeze brings potential for frozen pipes

By Austin Jackson | Published Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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Breaking Pipes

BRRRREAKING PIPES – A winter blast will bring temperatures in the low 20s this week. It will be the first time temperatures dipped below 30 this season. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The alarm clock sounds, urging you from the warm cocoon of covers and onto the cold harsh tiles of your bathroom floor. You crank the shower all the way up, hoping for the relief of warm water and nothing comes out.

Oh no. Frozen pipes have struck again.

This cautionary tale could be coming soon if the necessary precautions aren’t taken.

The National Weather Service predicted temperatures to drop into the low 20s early this week as the first taste of winter arrives in Wise County.

With the cold weather, bundling yourself up in layers of clothes won’t be enough, said Lee Davis, owner of Big Lee’s Drain Cleaning and Plumbing Repair in Decatur. The veteran plumber said you have to prepare your home for the cold blast, too.

The first freeze of the season usually results in several calls to he and his colleagues due to bursting pipes.

“We’re busy after the first freeze just because people aren’t aware or prepared,” Davis said.

Davis said it’s easy to avoid frozen pipes and the repair that could cost anywhere from a little over a $100 to thousands of dollars to fix.

First thing, Davis said, is to disconnect hoses and make sure to cover exterior faucets. Davis said the Styrofoam faucet covers could be found at local hardware scores for around $2.

“Even if they’re out of those, you can wrap a rag around the exterior faucet and put a ziploc bag over them and it will do the same thing,” Davis said.

When it comes to the interior of homes, Davis said the best thing to do is always keep a faucet dripping to keep the flow of water moving. He also advised to open cabinet doors so the heat can reach the pipes and keep them from freezing.

Davis said is important in particular to Wise County is to disconnect water hoses to outside hydrants.

“It’s crucial for people out here in Wise County because so many people have them,” Davis said. “They’re frost proof, but if you don’t disconnect the hose it creates a trap and your outside yard hydrants can freeze.”

Davis said you’ll know if your pipes are frozen when the faucet begins to stall out. At that point, It’s imperative to act quickly.

“You’ll know when it starts stalling out and if you hear water spraying you need to shut it off,” Davis said. “If it’s a well, you need to shut the well down, if it’s in the city, you need to shut the meter off or call the city to come and shut it off. Then you’ll need to have someone come out and repair the damage.”

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