BRYN MAWR — As sub-freezing temperatures are expected this weekend, Aqua Pennsylvania is reminding homeowners that they should take steps now to prevent their household water pipes from freezing this winter. Frozen pipes become a concern when the air temperature drops below freezing for a sustained period.
Mike Fili, Aqua Pennsylvania vice president of distribution, said that nobody wants a frozen service line into their home. Toilets can’t be flushed, residents can’t wash their hands and taking a shower is out.
By taking a few easy precautions, many wintertime disasters can be prevented.
Aqua Pennsylvania recommends that customers take the following steps ahead of severe winter weather:
• Make sure to have a supply of heat tape and pipe insulation, as well as a portable space heater and a hairdryer on hand.
• Locate and visibly mark the home’s master water valve. If a pipe does break, use this valve to turn off the water to the home.
• Make sure the lids on outdoor meter pits are not broken or missing.
• Shut off and drain any outside faucets including those for lawn sprinkling systems.
• Prevent drafts in unheated areas, such as crawl spaces or basements, by replacing broken glass or making other repairs.
Aqua Pennsylvania also advises customers to take the following precautions in any unheated areas of their homes when temperatures drop below freezing:
• Wrap pipes with insulation material or heat tape. Wrap indoor water meters with a blanket. Proper and safe use of portable space heaters can also keep exposed pipes in drafty areas from freezing.
• For interior plumbing located on an outside wall such as a kitchen sink, install heat tape to the pipes beneath the sink. If no small children are in the house, open cabinet doors beneath the sink to allow the warm air in the home to reach the pipes.
When temperatures remain near 10°F, customers may want to leave a very thin stream of water running continuously from at least one tap in their home — preferably the one farthest from the meter. The additional cost of the water is cheaper than the cost of repairing ruptured pipes.
If a customer can locate the frozen area of a pipe, open a spigot and use a hand-held hair dryer (blow dryer) or heat tape to thaw the area. If this does not resolve the issue, contact a licensed plumber.