MSP offers tips to prevent frozen pipes during frigid weather

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MICHIGAN — With a second round of arctic temperatures forecast to impact the entire state next week and significant snowfall in the Lower Peninsula, the Michigan State Police is encouraging state residents and visitors to be extra cautious when going out in the extreme cold.

“With the National Weather Service forecasting another period of sub-zero temperatures and snow, it’s important that Michiganders take steps to stay safe during this stretch of cold weather,” said Capt. Emmitt McGowan, deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division. “If you must be outdoors, be sure to dress appropriately and wear a warm coat, hats and gloves and have an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle.”

The National Weather Service is forecasting up to 6 inches of snow in much of the Lower Peninsula from Sunday to Monday night. Beginning Monday night and lasting through Friday all of Michigan will experience sub-zero overnight low temperatures and daytime highs around 0 degrees. Exposure to these temperatures could potentially cause frostbite and hypothermia, create hazardous driving conditions and cause frozen pipes.

To prevent frozen pipes:

• Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.

• Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.

• When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold-water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle — helps prevent pipes from freezing.

• Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a costlier repair job if pipes freeze and burst.

• If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees F.

To thaw frozen pipes:

• If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.

• Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.

• Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.

• Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.

Residents who need assistance or guidance during the extreme cold are encouraged to call 211.

For more information on how to prepare before, during and after an emergency or disaster, visit www.michigan.gov/miready or follow MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS.

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