Ross Valley Fire News
Freeze Warning: December 4, 2013
Freezing temperatures are in the forecast for Dec. 4 and 5. Insulate your exposed pipes and cover frost-tender plants to prevent possible damage. Below is information on how to wrap your pipes and cover your plants.
Preparing for a Winter Freeze
It's easy to protect your exposed pipes and it takes just a few minutes. Place foam insulation around exposed pipes and install special blankets made for backflow devices, both available at your local hardware store or irrigation supply house. If you don't have this type of insulation on hand, use old towels or blankets and wrap them in plastic secured in place with twine or wire to keep the material dry. Disconnect all garden hoses and drain the water from them before coiling them up.
If your pipes do freeze without cracking or breaking, try to turn on the water faucet slowly. The running water will melt the ice. Do not pour boiling water on frozen pipes as they can burst from the extreme change in temperature.
Protect Your Plants, too
Don't stop with outdoor pipes for freeze protection. Frost-tender plants also can suffer from the freezing weather. Protect them by creating tents over the top of the plants with old sheets or tarps. Be careful not to let the material come into contact with the foliage, which will make it freeze. Use long stakes or lodge poles to hold the material away from the plants.
In extreme cases, for tropical plants like bougainvillea, place a trouble light under the sheeting material with a refrigerator bulb with low wattage during the subfreezing temperatures. Make certain that the extension cord is rated for outdoor usage. If frostbite occurs on foliage, do not prune the damaged plant until the frost season is over, typically March. The damaged parts of the plant will protect the leaves underneath.
Know How to Turn Off Your Water
In the event of a winter freeze, you may need to turn off your water to prevent damage to your property from broken pipes. Prepare yourself for this possibility in advance:
- Locate the water main leading into your house and attach a label to it for quick identification (so that you can find it even in the dark).
- Attach a valve wrench to the water line. This tool can be purchased at most hardware stores.
The water can be turned off at either of two locations. We recommend shutting off your water at the water main leading into the house to prevent water from flowing out of your water heater and back into the main line (turn the handle clockwise to shut off the flow). If you can't turn the water off at the main leading into your house, you can also shut off water at the main meter box (usually by the street), which controls the water flow to the entire property. To shut off, turn valve arrow toward the street.
If you can't turn the water off yourself, call MMWD's emergency line at (415) 945-1500 and we will send someone to turn it off for you.
More information on preparing for an emergency can be found on our website:http://www.marinwater.org/controller?action=menuclick&id=400