Safety Precautions During Freezing Temperatures

The threat of a hard freeze is in effect for parts of the Southeast, including Arkansas, northeast Louisiana and central and northern Mississippi, according to the National Weather Service.

Recently in Greenville, temperatures have been in the 30s and 20s. There is a hard freeze warning tonight with temperatures expected to reach 20 degrees or lower. Throughout next week, the likelihood of widespread hazardous weather is low, but still possible.

On Saturday, temperatures are expected to reach a low of 26 degrees. Temperatures will hit the 40s and 50s Sunday through Tuesday, but temperatures are expected to drop back into the 20s by Wednesday.

According to the American Red Cross, there are several precautions you can take to protect homes from freezing water in pipelines during cold weather episodes.

The pipes that freeze most often are pipes exposed to severe cold, such as outdoor bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and sprinkler lines; water supply lines in unheated interior spaces such as basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets; and pipes that run against exterior walls with little or no insulation.

Before the onset of cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing by following these recommendations:

* Drain the water from the pool supply lines and water sprinklers following the manufacturer’s or installer’s instructions;

* Remove, drain and store hoses used outdoors. Close interior valves supplying exterior hose bibs. Open the faucets outside the pipe to allow the water to flow. Keep the outside valve open so that the water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to rupture;

* Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas;

* Check around the house for other areas where the water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated; and

* Consider installing specific products designed to insulate water lines such as “pipe sleeve” or installing “heating tape”, “heating cable” or similar UL listed materials on water lines exhibited. Newsprint can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” newsprint can provide significant protection in areas that don’t typically have frequent or prolonged below freezing temperatures.

* Running water through the pipe – even in a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing;

* Keep the thermostat set at the same temperature day and night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you risk a higher heating bill, but you can avoid a much more expensive repair job if the pipes freeze and burst; and

* If you are away in cold weather, leave the heat in your home set to no lower than 55°F.

For your safety, stay indoors and wear warm clothes. Layers of loose, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than a bulky sweater. If you are too hot, remove layers to avoid sweating. if you are cold, add layers. If you must go out, wear layered clothing, mittens or gloves and a hat. Outerwear should be tightly woven and water repellent. Mittens or gloves and a hat will prevent loss of body heat.

Also be sure to check on relatives, neighbors and friends, especially if they are elderly or live alone. If possible, bring pets indoors in cold winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and ensure they have access to unfrozen drinking water.

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