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EWEB: Freezing temps can damage exposed pipes

(File/SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. -- With the National Weather Service forecasting overnight temperatures at or below freezing starting early next week, Eugene-area residents should take simple precautions to winterize their homes and businesses to avoid frozen pipes.

Icy north winds and freezing temperatures can do a lot of damage to homes if exposed or unheated pipes freeze. In addition to leaving customers without running water, repairing the damage caused by frozen, broken pipes can be expensive.

The Eugene Water & Electric Board is urging all of its customers to follow some basic, low- or no-cost tips to help cope with the cold weather and avoid expensive repair bills:

• Insulate all pipes located in unheated areas, such as the garage, basement and garden areas. Inexpensive foam insulation is available at most home improvement stores.

• Disconnect outside hoses, wrap faucets and cover them with plastic or faucet covers.

• Cover crawl space vents with cardboard or plywood when temperatures dip below freezing. Remember to uncover vents when the weather warms up.

• At 20 degrees Fahrenheit or less, turn on a small but steady stream of cold water at the inside faucet furthest from the water meter. Also, open cabinet doors below the sink to let warm air circulate around water pipes.

• Drain and winterize underground irrigation systems, including yard sprinklers and backflow preventers. Be sure to wrap the backflow preventer with insulating material.

If your pipes do freeze and you know where the frozen spot is, wrap the pipe with warm towels.

Never use a flame or hair dryer to thaw frozen pipes.

If your pipes break, shut off your water using the hand valve at the meter. If you cannot get the water turned off, call EWEB at (541) 685-7000 for assistance.

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