As you bundle up, check your pipes, too - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

As you bundle up, check your pipes, too

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

January  , 2009

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Business is pretty slow in the winter months for Advanced Lawn and Sprinkler. They have a few installations from time to time, but this week, could actually be busy for the company.

"As cold as it's going to be, there's a good chance. We don't see a lot of cold weather in South Georgia. When we do, most people aren't prepared for it," said Ward Summerell of Advanced Lawn Sprinkler. 

Summerell says the systems they install could receive some substantial damage if homeowners don't take a few precautions. "When it comes times for freezing temperatures, like now, it's time to shut 'em down."

Make sure the pipes aren't full of water by draining them. "Turn the water off at the source. Turn the timer on as if you were running a manual cycle, let it run for 30-45 seconds and turn the timer off."

And, for added protection, cover them up. "Any type insulation that you can put on it, be it a blanket, wrap it up with a blanket, put a trash can over your valves, something that will stop the wind and just basically slow down the freezing wind."

Pipes in commercial buildings used for fire protection could also have problems.

"When you have continued cold weather, if the system has been neglected over the years it can cause a problem, especially, and your roofs and your eves where the cold air really gets to," said Mike Cody of Georgia Automatic Sprinkler.

Cody says most pipes with fire protection sprinklers like the ones being installed in the new dorms at Darton College aren't filled with air until they are triggered by heat, but they need to be inspected yearly to make sure they work properly.

"The systems are here to save lives and property and if they're properly maintained, they'll do that."

But if not, they could destroy property. And you'll only know once it's too late, as the pipes begin to thaw, and the water begins to leak.

If you have a sprinkler system in your yard, drain the lines before you go to bed tonight.

If you're not sure how to do that, call your sprinkler service and they should be able to walk you through it.

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