Friday, January 22, 2016

Cold Weather Information Roundup!

Cold weather tips for your plumbing:

Open up the cabinet doors under your sinks to let the warm air from the house keep your pipes warm.

If any of your plumbing pipes run through unheated areas of your home, let the faucet drip slightly until temperatures are above freezing again.

If you turn on the faucet and no water comes out, or it comes out very slowly, call a plumber right away. Turn off your water at the main shut off valve. Your pipes are frozen!

Never thaw out frozen pipes with an open flame. You will burn your house down or damage the pipe. Use a hand-held hair dryer instead, but not if there’s standing water on the floor! (If there’s standing water, thaw out frozen pipes with hot towels, not anything electric.) Direct the air from the dryer toward the faucet and work your way to the end of the pipe.

If you leave home for an extended period during the winter, don’t turn your heat off unless you have bled all the pipes first. Do that by turning off the water at the main and then running all the faucets until they run dry. If you are away for a short time, don’t turn your heat off or too low. You may come home to frozen pipes!

Wrap water pipes in insulation or layers of newspaper, tied on with plastic bags.

Remove, drain and put away your outdoor hoses. If they are out in the yard with water in them, they are going to burst.

Turn off the valves to your outside faucets and drain any water in the faucet. Pack insulation around the faucet and then tie a plastic bag over it to hold the insulation in place.

Close all the air vents in the foundation wall of your crawl space under the house. If your pipes freeze, use a hair dryer to thaw them, not a blow torch!

Do you know where your main water cut-off valve is in your house? Find it, mark it, tell all family members how to cut off the water. If a water pipe breaks in your house, you want to be able to turn off the water as quickly as possible.

If you're going out of town during cold weather, turn off the water service to the entire house and drain the pipes so you don't come home to an unpleasant surprise!

If you lower your thermostat at night, don’t do it when the weather is below freezing. Keep those water pipes warm!

Cold Weather Policy for Gas Disconnections

Gas service will not be disconnected when the daily temperature is equal to or less than 32 degrees from Dec. 1-March 31 if
  • The below freezing forecasted temperature is for a 24-hour period
  • It occurs on a Friday or any time during the following weekend
  • The customer has a Life Support coded account which indicates elderly, senior care, dialysis or medical
If payment is not received, service will be disconnected on the next business day that the temperature is predicted to be above 32 degrees for the next 24 hours, or during the weekend.

Unless the service is for a daycare center, nursing home, church or bulk metered multi-dwelling where occupants reside, temperature will not prevent disconnection of these services. 

Confirmed theft of service situations will be disconnected regardless of weather conditions.

Running a Generator or Gas-Powered Space Heater? Be Safe

Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the most common causes of deadly poisoning. Carbon monoxide is invisible, odorless, and nonirritating. It can be inhaled directly into the bloodstream where it displaces oxygen from hemoglobin, the protein that transports oxygen through the body. Without oxygen, the brain, heart, and muscles suffocate and cease to function.

Early symptoms of poisoning include headaches, nausea, and vomiting that get better when you leave the area. Advanced symptoms include loss of concentration and memory, falling into a coma, and dying. Pets in the house may fall ill and die sooner than adult humans, so if your pet shows any of these symptoms, or you come home to find a pet dead, suspect carbon monoxide and get out quick!

Any area that contains a car, barbecue, lawn mower, gas stove, hot water heater, furnace, fireplace, or snow blower is capable of containing deadly carbon monoxide fumes not only in the garage, room, or basement where they are located, but in any attached living quarters. You can even inhale too much carbon monoxide outside if you are too near an exhaust.

Never use a gas or charcoal grill in an enclosed space. Regularly service your furnace. Don't idle your car or lawn mower in an attached garage, even with the garage door open. Don't operate generators too close to the house, especially in the garage or by a window.

Have at least one carbon monoxide monitor in your home. If the alarm goes off, throw open all the windows and doors immediately and get everyone out of the house. Then call 911. If you live in an attached apartment or duplex, the fumes may be coming from a common vent. Have the emergency responders check on your neighbors as well.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Fix a Leak Week is March 14-20, 2016

Detect Drips Inside and Out for Fix a Leak Week

Fix a Leak Week
Communities across the country will join WaterSense to crack the case of household leaks for the 8th annual Fix a Leak Week March 14-20, 2016. WaterSense partners are encouraging Americans to become leak detectives to reduce the more than 1 trillion gallons of water lost each year by homes across the country due to leaks indoors and out. You can be a leak detective and save more than 10,000 gallons of water per home on average by taking three simple steps: check, twist, and replace:
  1. Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, you probably have a leak. Check your sprinkler system for winter damage. You can also put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank; wait 10 minutes before flushing, and if color appears in the bowl, you have a leak.
  2. Twist faucet valves, tighten pipe connections, and secure your hose to the spigot. For additional savings, twist a WaterSense labeled aerator onto each bathroom faucet to save water without noticing a difference in flow.
  3. Replace old and leaky plumbing fixtures with WaterSense labeled models, which are independently certified to use 20 percent less water and perform as well or better than standard models. You can also replace irrigation clock timers with WaterSense labeled controllers that tell your sprinkler when and how much to water based on local weather conditions.