Opinion

Protecting your home in severe weather

The Building Department would like to remind residents to use extra precaution in protecting homes from severe weather.


There are a number of things you can do to protect pipes from freezing: drain and store hoses; close inside valves that supply outdoor hose bibs and then open hose bibs to allow water to drain; add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces; install products made to insulate water pipes, such as “pipe sleeves” or UL-listed “heat tape.” To prevent frozen pipes, let your hot and cold faucets drip overnight and open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks on exterior walls. The water you run doesn’t have to be warm. Even cold water, at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.


Setting thermostats at the same temperature day and night will help prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. While avoiding a high heating bill might be tempting, you could be protecting yourself from costly repairs from frozen or burst pipes. If you’re going to be away from home for an extended period of time, don’t lower heat below 55 degrees.
Keep your house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 65 degrees might not keep the inside walls from freezing.

If a trickle of water is coming out of your faucet, a frozen pipe may be to blame. Pipes most susceptible to freezing are against exterior walls or where water enters your home through the foundation. If you’re able to locate the frozen pipe, apply heat using an electric heating pad, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Be careful with the heat source and don’t use open flame devices such as blowtorches or propane heaters. If you can’t locate the frozen pipe, or if it’s not accessible, call a licensed plumber.

Check all other faucets in your home to see if you have any other frozen pipes. Pipes in colder areas of your home, including the attic, basement and crawl spaces, are the most likely to freeze.


It has come to my attention that coyotes have recently been sighted in town. No person or animal has been harmed by these coyotes, but, as a precaution, it is advisable that residents do not leave small children and pets unattended. In most cases, a healthy coyote is afraid of people but police should be called if coyotes are observed out in the open and showing no fear of humans.


Please take note of the sanitation schedule change for the week of Jan. 15: Monday, Jan. 15 is a holiday and town offices will be closed. Garbage and recycling normally collected on Monday will be collected on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Garbage and recycling normally collected on Tuesday will be collected on Wednesday, Jan. 17. There will be no bulk trash pickup on Jan. 17. The normal collection schedule for household trash and recycling will resume on Thursday, Jan. 18.

 

In closing, I would like to thank our Department of Public Works for doing a wonderful job clearing our streets after last week’s snow storm. The crews plowed and salted our municipal roadways in record time, and I would like to commend them for their hard work. As a snowstorm approaches, please remember to put cars into driveways to help with street plowing efforts. In addition, when clearing driveways and walkways, please refrain from shoveling snow into the streets.

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