Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes from ND Rural Water

1. Determine the location of the frozen pipe. This can be done by touching or by running your hand along
accessible water pipes in the home while feeling for extremely cold spots. If a cold portion of pipe is
encountered; thaw it gently, preferably using a hair dryer. DO NOT use a propane torch, as it could
cause a rupture of the water line.
2. If you suspect the water line is about to freeze, check the temperature of the water. Do this at the
location of where the water enters the home. If the temperature is close to freezing, run a substantial
amount of water until the temperature increases. This could take some time. Showering and washing
extra loads of laundry will put the extra water to good use.
3. If you choose to leave the water in the home trickling, be careful! Leaving the water running at a
trickle can help prevent frozen water service lines. However, trickling water can sometimes lead to
frozen sewer service lines. In the past, water and sewer lines were installed in close proximity of each
other and often at the same depth. Trickling water in a sewer line can cool to the point of freezing if
the sewer line is cold. This could lead to the sewer service freezing shut and causing a sewer backup.
4. If you chose to run the water at a trickle, it is advised to periodically turn the flow of water up to about
a garden hose size stream for several minutes. The increased flow of water allows for a better
exchange of heat between the water and water service line/ground and also allows the water to assist
in heating the sewer system.
5. If the consumer having a freezing water issue is on a septic system, trickling water should be diverted
away from the septic system. Septic systems have a limited capability to accept excess water in deep
frost conditions. The trickling water could compromise the on-site septic system, leaving the customer
with more problems and expense. If possible, use a hose to run the trickling water to an outside,
acceptable area.
6. Electrically heating of water lines, using a welder, only works on metallic lines. It will not work if there
is any plastic or pvc piping in the service line. Care should be taken, if using a welder, as they have
been known to start fires in adjacent structures. It has also been found that the use of welders can
increase the speed at which cast iron or ductile iron lines corrode.
7. If the water service line does become frozen advise the customer to open one or two faucets. This will
allow the ice to have room to expand without damaging any other piping.
8. There are companies throughout the state that have the ability to thaw frozen services with a recirculating
thawing unit. If there is no one that offers this service in your area and you would like
assistance, please contact us at 1-800-349-6951. We will guide you through the processes of
constructing a thawing unit and its operation.

HOW DOES COLD AFFECT YOUR HEART?

It’s important to know how cold weather can affect your heart, especially if you have cardiovascular disease.

Many people don’t realize how much they exert themselves when they are not conditioned for it simply by walking through snow. Even those that are accustomed to being outdoors in winter can accidentally suffer hypothermia if certain precautions are not taken.

Hypothermia means the body temperature has fallen below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It occurs when your body can’t produce enough energy to keep the internal body temperature warm enough. It can kill you. Heart failure causes most deaths in hypothermia. Symptoms include lack of coordination, mental confusion, slowed reactions, shivering and sleepiness.

Children, our elderly and those with heart disease are at higher risk. As we age we seem to become almost immune to feeling moderately cold conditions, we can suffer hypothermia without realizing the danger.

People with heart disease often suffer chest pain or discomfort when they’re in cold weather. Some studies suggest that harsh winter weather may increase a person’s risk of heart attack due to overexertion.

It’s not just cold temperatures, high winds, snow and dampness can also cause the body to lose warmth. Wind is especially dangerous, because it removes the layer of heated air from around your body. Similarly, dampness causes the body to lose heat faster than it would at the same temperature in drier conditions.

To keep warm, wear layers of clothing. This traps air between layers, forming a protective insulation. Also, cover your head. Heat is lost through your head, ears are especially prone to frostbite. Keep your hands and feet warm, too, as they  lose heat quickly.

Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before going outdoors or when outside. Alcohol gives an initial feeling of warmth, because blood vessels in the skin expand. Heat is then drawn away from the body’s vital organs.

 

It’s Severe Winter Weather Awareness Week

Winter in North Dakota can be a wonderful season with lots to do for out door fun.

It can be a great family building time for games, stories and all those things that you don’t have time for when everyone is enjoying the summer sun.

But, it can also be harsh and life threatening if you’re not prepared.

Take the time before the next snow flies to build a winter survival kit, one for the home and one for each vehicle. You can find many tips and kits on this website but also on many other websites. Here is a list of some of my favorites in no special order.

National Weather Service Grand Forks

ND Dept of Emergency Services

Ready.gov

Road Conditions

Make sure that if you are traveling that someone knows your plans. Be safe and enjoy the winter.

Don’t forget to check the road reports before you travel!

 

Family Communications Planning

 

What would you do if an emergency or disaster hits your area? How would you communicate with your spouse, children, or parents and other family members when everyone is scattered at school, work, or out and about doing errands?

Having a plan on where to meet, who your emergency contacts are, a way to communicate when cell towers are overwhelmed or out of commission due to the emergency is all a part of a good family communications plan.

Having the name and contact information for your insurance agent may be a good idea too.

 

Click here for tips on family communications planning from FEMA.