Bitter cold Arctic air is causing temperatures to drop well below freezing in the Midlands and across South Carolina.
In addition to protecting yourself and pets with warm clothes and staying inside as much as possible, you also have to protect “inside” from the nasty weather.
Specifically, protect the pipes in your residence.
Columbia Water sent out a reminder to customers urging them to take precautions to prevent pipes from leaking or bursting.
“Frozen water in your pipes can cause serious problems to your internal plumbing, including loss of service and breaks,” Columbia Water said in a news release.
Burst pipes can result in the loss of water service, property damage and property destruction. But there are a few simple things to do to help protect pipes from freezing temperatures. This involves steps inside and outside of the building.
While these might seem silly, or annoying, they are much better than the alternative. Picture trying to gather your belongings as water erupts from a burst pipe and it happens to be 20 degrees outside.
Spending less than a dollar extra on your monthly water bill seems like a fair investment compared to repairing thousands of dollars of damage.
Maybe the drips from a running faucet aren’t so bad.
▪ Leave your faucets dripping to keep water moving through the pipes
▪ Open under-sink cabinets to let heat circulate and keep pipes warm
▪ Disconnect any hoses or lines from your outside spigots
▪ Turn off all outside spigots
▪ Cover all outside spigots with blankets or insulated covers
Additionally, be aware of where the shut-off valve is located, inside or outside of your residence.
Older pipes are a high risk of bursting because of the cold weather, but all pipes in a residence or municipal lines are susceptible.
One way to detect a leak is to turn off all spigots then check to see if your water meter is still running. If it is, you may have a leak.
Broken pipes have already had a significant impact in South Carolina. Three water mains broke overnight Monday in Rock Hill because of the “extreme cold” overnight, city officials said.
No one is immune from the threat of burst pipes. This includes the Northeast, where residents are much more accustomed to dealing with inclement weather.
The freezing weather caused a pipe to burst at a Rhode Island courthouse, forcing officials to close the building and cancel court proceedings Tuesday.
Winter Safety Precautions
- Check on anyone who may need extra help during winter weather.
- Call 911 for life-threatening emergencies only.
- Remember to keep a full charge on your cell phone and mobile devices so that they can be used during an emergency.
- Motorists should be careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roadways, which tend to freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
- Power outages are expected to be minimal but possible with this storm. If you lose power, know how to report the outage to your utility company and have alternate, safe means of staying warm.
- Monitor local media for information about warming shelters that have been opened by county emergency managers.
- Freezing temperatures can burst water pipes in homes that lack heat or proper insulation. Wrap exposed pipes or take other measures to insulate them from the cold.
- Keep alternative heating sources prepared. If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them.
- Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep any electric generators OUTSIDE and away from any open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, do not burn charcoal indoors. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result from charcoal fumes indoors.
- Never operate a portable generator indoors.
- Keep fresh batteries on hand to use with flashlights and NOAA tone-alert weather radios.
- Provide some options for outdoor pets and domestic animals to stay warm.
SOURCE: South Carolina Emergency Management Division