The Washington Times-Herald

February 5, 2014

Keep your pipes warm and happy

By Jennifer Stefancik Extension Educator
Health and Human Sciences

---- — Greetings Daviess County resi-dents! I hope you have been able to stay warm and out of the snow and ice we’ve been having a lot of this winter. Seems Mother Nature is reminding us this year of what winter is like after having a couple of mild winters in the books over the past few years. In my news column this time I would like to share about upcoming programs and preventing and thawing frozen pipes. Don’t hesitate to call, stop by, or email me if I can be of assistance. Until next time, stay dry, safe, and warm.

Parent’s Night Out Series Starting Soon

Are you having trouble communicating with your kids? Is it always a battle to get them to bed or to clean their rooms? Take time out of your busy schedule and invest some time in your family by learning some new communication and discipline techniques at the next “Parent’s Night Out” series sponsored by Purdue Extension with funding from the Daviess County Community Foundation. Bryan Engleman, part-time counselor will be the instructor. He brings a humorous and enjoyable style to the programs where everyone is welcome — parents, grandparents, foster parents and other caregivers. Anyone who wants to invest time in improving their relationships with their children and others will find this program rewarding. The series begins February 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Washington Catholic High School Library in Washington. The program will last for three consecutive Monday nights. For registration and more information contact the Daviess County Extension Office at 254-8668, 687-7800 Ext. 224, or 486-3535, Ext.224 or email Jennifer at jstefanc@purdue.edu. Please call and register by February 14. The office is located at 214 N.E. Third St.

Conference Deadline Approaching for Early Bird Registration

The 13th Annual WIA Conference will once again be held in Southern Indiana! Join us Feb. 19-20 at the Sheraton Louisville Riverside Hotel, Jeffersonville. Registration costs for the 2014 Midwest Women in Agriculture Conference go up after February 4. This year, we are offering two new programs at the conference. We will offer “Farming Together: Business Structure, Taxes, and Valuation” on Feb. 18. Registration for this program ends Feb. 4. We are also hosting the Young Ladies of Agriculture Forum for young ladies (grades 8-12) with an interest in learning about agriculture, no background in agriculture required! Conference details and registration forms are available on the Women in Ag website http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/wia/.

Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes

Being prepared and informed may help you to avoid the messy and often expensive issue of frozen pipes. The American Red Cross provides information and suggestions around how to prevent water pipes in the home from freezing, and how to thaw them if they do freeze.

Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem

Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the “strength” of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.

During Cold Weather, Take Preventative Action

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. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.

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

To Thaw Frozen Pipes

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.

Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. 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 you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.

Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.