Extreme cold can wreck pipes, irrigation - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Extreme cold can wreck pipes, irrigation

December 14, 2004

Albany--  Now that those frigid temperatures are here, homeowners can save a lot money by bracing their pipes and irrigation systems for the winter chill.

"People don't know that little bit of water right there might save you a little bit of damage," says Talmadge Sizemore, of Sizemore Pluming, Inc.

The simplest thing you can do to save your pipes is to leave a steady stream of both hot and cold water running through your faucets. Sizemore says for the past 30 years, the chief complaint in the winter time is no water running through frozen pipes. "The first response should be to turn the main water supply, so when it does thaw out they don't have a lot of damage," he says.

A lot of damage that will end up way more than what's running down the drain. And when temperatures drop, experts say you should also remember to protect your outdoor water sources.

Irrigation experts say you should also remember to wrap and or cover all pipes that are on the outside of your home. You may only think about your sprinkler system in the summer heat, but the winter chill can put the freeze on them as well.

"One of the best things because it is so cold is to completely shut the system down at the water source. A lot of people have controllers and they'll think well I've turned the controller off but that still doesn't prevent the valves from freezing up," says Jim Leedy of AAA Sprinkler.

Leedy says most homes have between four and eight valves in their lawns and if they are freeze, replacing them could become very costly. So he says either cover them up on turn them off.

"It should be turned off at the street right behind your city water meter. You may have to poke around. They may be a green box there," explains Leedy.

Following these simple steps can help prevent the winter weather from putting a hole in your pipes and your pockets.

Plumbers also say if you're going out of town and don't want to leave faucets dripping the entire time, you should leave the heat on in your house. That will help keep pipes warm.

posted at 4:35PM by dave.miller@walb.com