Air pipes

Tips for preventing pipes from freezing when temperatures hit record highs

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Snow days 2021

The freezing cold that gripped western Washington and dumped several inches of snow in the city is expected to persist.

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As local plumbers rush to fix cracked pipes in cold weather in the western Washington area, they are also sharing tips on how to prevent damage.

“Dangerously cold temperatures” will persist through Wednesday with highs in the 1920s and lows dropping to 15 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Reached by phone Monday, spokespersons for local businesses including Beacon Plumbing and Hunt’s Services told the News Tribune their teams were struggling with emergency plumbing issues that arose from the cold, often due to pipe freezing and then bursting or cracking.

Idriana Velez, office manager at All Purpose Plumbing in Tacoma, said she does her best to share advice over the phone for people trying to protect their homes from the cold.

Velez suggested that cold water drip from the faucets to keep the pipes from freezing.

“Another thing is to open all the cabinets under the sinks to let the heat from the house get to them,” she said.

Velez also suggested covering the entrances of crawl spaces for homes that have them to prevent cold outside air from freezing the pipes inside.

Tacoma Public Utilities also shares tips on its website:

  1. Insulate exposed pipes, valves and flaps. This includes pipes that are outdoors, in attics, crawl spaces, basements and garages. Pipe insulation and insulation material for the mud flaps are available at many hardware stores.

  2. Close and empty the exterior faucets. If your hose bibs have individual shutoff valves, turn off the water supply for the individual hose bibs and open the hose bibs to drain the faucets.

  3. Turn off and winter your outdoor irrigation system and other water devices.

  4. Disconnect your garden hoses from the bibs.

  5. Keep the heat on and set your thermostat to no less than 55 ° F when you’re not at home.

  6. If you are leaving your home for an extended period, have someone check it daily to make sure the heat is on.

  7. Locate your emergency stop and learn how to shut off your water supply.

TPU customers can call 253-502-8384 for emergency water leaks.

This story was originally published December 27, 2021 14:21.

Allison Needles covers city and education news for The News Tribune in Tacoma. She was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest.