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With cold weather just around the corner, plan to insulate pipes

With the warm winter weather we've been having, you may not be worried about cold weather problems just now.

Still, I felt most would be interested in this information so as to avoid these problems in the future.

I think all of us have a little child inside who gets excited at the thought of snow but we quickly lose that excitement when our water freezes.

One of the big mistakes I made several years ago was to allow an outdoor faucet to freeze. This faucet was supposedly "freeze proof."

Most freeze proof faucets work because they are constructed with the shut-off valve recessed in the shaft that runs through the wall of your home. That way, when you shut off the faucet, there is actually no water in the portion that is exposed to the weather.

My problem was that I left a water hose connected to the faucet that held water in that vulnerable area.

Fortunately, we were home when the frozen faucet thawed and began to spew water under our home.

Faucets that are not freeze proof need to be covered or insulated for protection from sub-freezing temperatures.

Be sure that freeze proof faucets can drain dry once the valve is shut off. Any trapped water in an exposed faucet spells trouble even if the faucet is supposed to be freeze proof.

If you're on a well, don't forget to take precautions to keep the pump and tank from freezing. Certainly, the tank and pump should be covered.

In cases of prolonged cold weather, I have seen pump/tank freezing problems even with a nice pump house.

Placing a light bulb in the pump house is one thing that is fairly easy to do. This will usually prevent freezing if all the holes and cracks in the pump house are cinched.

Homes that have been constructed fairly recently usually are insulated enough to prevent the water pipes from freezing.

In older homes, cinch those holes and cracks in the foundation as best you can. Old feed sacks work well for this.

You may want to consider letting a faucet or two drip if you feel the pipes will be exposed to below freezing temperatures for more than a few hours.

Don't forget your livestock and pets. If they drink out of a container, it's probably frozen. There are waterers that are designed to prevent freezing, but most people don't see the need for these until the ice is in the bucket. If you're in that situation, all you can do is provide fresh water a couple of times per day. Your animals still need water even during the cold weather.

Web posted on Thursday, December 10, 2009

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