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June 15, 2019 | 4:31pm
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Ferndale area residents are reporting low water pressure – an indication of frozen pipes

City of Ferndale staff say they have been getting a lot of calls today asking about low or no water pressure in homes and businesses. City staff confirmed they are not doing any work on the water system or turning off water service to anyone at this time. Given the onslaught of high winds and temperatures in the teens, low or no water pressure is most likely the result of frozen pipes.

The American Red Cross provides tips for preventing 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 much more costly 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° F

PEMCO Insurance adds one more bit of advice, “Cover outdoor faucets with a foam bib or cloth to prevent pipes from freezing and cracking.” PEMCO officials say their polls show about 30% fail to do this.

But if it is too late and frozen pipes have been discovered, City staff say it is better to call a plumber than them. Once temperatures warm up and the pipes thaw, breaks in the pipes caused by the expanding frozen water can then leak and cause water damage.

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But caution is advised if you choose to try and thaw your own pipes. In a recent incident in Naperville, Illinois, firefighters’ assistance was required after a resident attempted to defrost frozen water pipes in a wall with a heat gun and then later called 911 to report smoke in their kitchen and a second-floor bathroom.

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