Cold weather taking its toll on pipes in local homes, businesses, even retirement community. Plus: Tips on staying safe.

Cold weather taking its toll on pipes in local homes, businesses, even retirement community. Plus: Tips on staying safe.

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The continuing subfreezing weather is taking its toll on Northwest Georgia’s water pipes. Experts have been advising home and business owners to let faucets drop (cold water) to keep water moving to help avoid any freezing. Some homes have insulation around the piping, which has meant additional protection.

But others are beginning to develop problems.

Since 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, ServiceMaster by Twins has had 67 water damage jobs caused by frozen pipes, says Larry Alford who owns the business with his brother, Barry. “We have a local retirement facility, hotel and numerous homes in Rome area effected. We are at nine right now in Rome (1 p.m. Wednesday). Most of our Tennessee market is expecting a lot more jobs later. They are still below freezing even now. Most of the jobs are Atlanta area and Northwest Georgia so far.”

An apartment complex near the Georgia-Alabama line has developed issues, Alford says, adding that his Rome-based business could see as many as 100 “water jobs” before the cold threat eases early next week.

ServiceMaster’s Nick Jackson wheels in equipment to assist with a local home.

Some safety tips when it comes to pipes, water and winter freezes, from the American Red Cross:

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
  • 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.
How 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 can not 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.
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