Drip, drip, drip

Turning faucet on can prevent pipes from freezing

-Messenger photo by April Naeve
One measure to avoid freezing pipes is allowing the faucet to drip overnight, according to Fort Dodge Water Utilities Distribution Manager Rich Fabbro. With temperatures expected to drop significantly today, there is an increased risk of pipes freezing.

When temperatures start to dip, the threat of freezing pipes becomes real.

When freezing occurs in a pipe, it creates a lot of pressure and can either split or burst. That can lead to flooding and other damage, according to Fort Dodge Water Utilities Distribution Manager Rich Fabbro.

As temperatures drop below zero today, Fabbro said there’s some key measures residents can take to avoid a disaster.

“Customers should drip their faucet and open their cabinets at night,” Fabbro said. “One drip every 3 to 5 seconds so they don’t end up with a huge water bill.”

In fact, Fabbro said those actions should be taken when temperatures fall to the teens.

Fabbro said having one faucet drip per home is sufficient.

“You are mainly just trying to keep water moving from the main service line and the house,” Fabbro said.

It’s also recommended to keep buildings and homes heated.

“With vacant buildings or rentals, the landlords will sometimes forget to leave the heat on,” Fabbro said. “At minimum, heat should be 55 degrees in winter time and keep cabinets open. Remember to wrap pipes in vacant buildings or trailer homes that are susceptible to freezing.”

Fabbro said heat tape can also be used.

“It plugs into an outlet,” he said. “It’s flexible, it’s almost like an extension cord. It provides gentle warming.”

If the pipes do freeze, Fabbro said to a call a plumber.

“Call a plumber and never attempt to thaw pipes on their own because it can result in home fires,” he said.

Depending on the severity of the winter, the city receives anywhere from half a dozen to dozens of calls regarding freezing pipes.

The city received three calls total between Monday and Tuesday about freezing pipes, Fabbro reported.

“If you think you have an issue, call a plumber or you can also call the city Public Works Department in the event that you need your water shut off,” he said.


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