Extreme cold settles in; pipes in danger

A lot of people don’t prepare for the cold weather, and hundreds wind up with flooded basements in the spring, said Curt Johnson, the owner of Action Plumbing, Heating, Air and Electric in Sun Prairie.

Most people put their garden hoses away for the winter, but many don’t shut off the separate shut-off valve in their basements, Johnson said. He suggested turning off that valve, then allowing any leftover water to drain from the outside spigot.

If that water sits and freezes in the pipe, the pipe can burst and flood a basement when spring weather thaws it, Johnson said.

“When it’s really super cold and the wind’s blowing, it makes it worse,” he said. “When the wind blows it can get up through cracks and freeze things. The wind is probably the biggest thing when it gets cold.”

Johnson’s other tips include:

–Shutting off the main water valve when you leave your home on a long weekend vacation.

–Turning on the water to a slow trickle if you’re worried about a particular pipe freezing.

–Opening cabinets to allow warm air into the space, warming pipes that sit near an outside wall.

–Replacing your furnace filter regularly, and make sure the furnace intake pipes are clear of snow and debris outside.

–Keeping your garage door shut unless it’s in use.