Frozen water pipes also a risk in extreme cold

One of the many problems that can come with such frigid conditions in the Upper Peninsula is frozen water pipes. Such numbing, subzero cold can penetrate deep into walls and the ground, clogging and bursting pipes, leaving a spewing, icy mess.

To prevent that situation, the Michigan State Police recommended:

— Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.

— Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.

— When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold-water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe — even at a trickle — helps prevent pipes from freezing.

— Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. Temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures may mean a higher heating bill but can prevent a costlier repair job if pipes freeze and burst.

— If going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in the home and set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

To thaw frozen pipes:

— If a faucet yields only a trickle, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where the water service enters the home through the foundation.

— Keep the faucet open. As the frozen pipe is treated and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.

— Apply heat to the 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. Do NOT use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or other open flame device.

— Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible or if the pipe cannot be thawed, call a licensed plumber.

Residents who need assistance or guidance during the extreme cold are encouraged to call 211.

For more information on how to prepare before, during and after severe weather or other emergencies and disasters, go to www.michigan.gov/miready.

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