Rain, snow, wind: Winter can bring severe and challenging weather, and it’s best to be prepared before conditions become difficult. This is the second in a four-part series on preparing and coping with winter weather in Mountlake Terrace.The City of Mountlake Terrace is providing some helpful tips to help homeowners prepare for the upcoming season.
Cold weather can lead to frozen water pipes. Here are some basic tips on how to prevent them and what to do if pipes do freeze or burst:
– For outside plumbing, disconnect garden hoses and use a molded foam cover, available at hardware stores, to protect the faucet. If your home has a separate shut off for outside faucets, shut off the valve and drain the lines by turning on all outside faucets until the water stops. Once drained, turn the faucets back off. Drain in-ground sprinkler systems according to the manufacturer’s or installer’s instructions.
– For inside plumbing, insulate pipes in unheated areas like your crawl space, attic, garage or basement. Insulation materials may include insulating tape, molded pipe insulation or foam covers for foundation vents. Open foundation vents are a common cause for frozen or burst pipes; just remember to remove the covers in the spring. Open cabinet doors below sinks in the kitchen and bathroom to allow pipes more heat in the walls behind or within the cabinets. Allow a small amount of water to flow at problem locations. Only a small stream of water at a location in your home farthest from the street is required. This movement of water prevents freezing, using cold water will save on your utility bills.
– If your pipes freeze, do not use an open flame; heat the affected pipe with a hair dryer or heat lamp. Do not leave the frozen pipe unattended.
– If your pipe bursts, shut off the water inside your home at the shut off valve. Most homes have a valve located near the water heater, or where the water enters the home. It is highly recommended that you know where this valve is or have one installed if you do not currently have one. If you do not have a shut off valve and water must be shut off at the street, contact the Public Works Department at 425-670-8264 during business hours or at 911 after hours.
– Repair of a pipe on the customer’s side of the water meter is the homeowner’s responsibility. Contacting a plumber if you are unable to make the repair yourself is recommended.
December is the peak time of year for home candle fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Each year, an estimated 15,600 home structure fires started by candles are reported to local fire departments, resulting in an estimated 150 deaths, 1,270 injuries and over $500 million in estimated property loss.
Thirty-eight percent of home candle fires started in the bedroom. Falling asleep was a factor in 12 percent of home candle fires and 26 percent of the associated deaths. The top five days for home candle fires were Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Halloween. More than half of all candle fires started when something that could burn — such as furniture, mattresses or bedding, curtains or decorations — was too close to the candle.
Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep. Keep candles at least 1 foot away from things that can catch fire, like clothing, books and curtains. Use candleholders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily. Keep candlewicks trimmed to one-quarter inch, and extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get to within two inches of the holder. Votives and container candles should be extinguished before the last half-inch of wax starts to melt.
For more information about fire prevention programs through Snohomish County Fire District 1, call 425-551-1200 or visit the Snohomish County Fire District 1 website.