Top 5 Ways to Protect Pipes From Freezing
Temperatures around East Stroudsburg are beginning to dip below freezing. With freezing temperatures comes the risk of frozen pipes.
Here are the Top 5 ways to protect your pipes from freezing this winter:
1) Pools and Sprinklers Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
2) Outdoor Valves Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
3) Home Insulation Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
4) Pipe Insulation Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
5) Pipe Relocation Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
Source: Red Cross
Top 5 Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes
With freezing temperatures creeping their way into Monroe County, now is the time to consider the risk of frozen pipes. Taking steps to prevent pipes from freezing is a lot easier than dealing with the mess after your pipes freeze.
Here are the Top 5 ways to prevent pipes from freezing:
1) Garages Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
2) Kitchens and Bathrooms Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
3) Faucet Drip When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
4) Thermostat Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
5) Extended Leave If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
Source: Red Cross
5 Steps to Thaw Frozen Pipes
If you follow the proper steps to protect your pipes from freezing, then frozen pipes shouldn't be an issue. But drastic weather always has the potential to be an issue.
If you find yourself with a partially or completely frozen pipe, here are the five steps you should take:
Step 1) If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
Step 2) Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
Step 3) Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
Step 4) Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
Step 5) Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
STEP 6: SERVPRO
If you experience any water leaks or other damage from frozen pipes, call SERVPRO at 570-424-2290. We specialize in cleanup and restoration after any sort of leak, especially frozen pipes. We are available 24/7 and we are always HERE TO HELP!
COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund
SERVPRO of Southern Monroe County is working with the Pocono Mountains United Way to help provide relief during this COVID-19 pandemic. One way the United Way is helping is with their Crisis Response Fund.
Hosted by Pocono Mountains United Way, the Crisis Response Fund is providing flexible resources to organizations in our region working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the economic consequences of this outbreak. Grants fund organizations that have deep roots in community and strong experience working with residents without health insurance and/or access to paid sick leave, people with limited English language proficiency, healthcare and tourism workers, and communities of color, among others. The Fund is designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand local capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as efficiently as possible.
The first phase of rapid-response grants is increasing resiliency in disproportionately affected communities by addressing the economic impact of reduced and lost work due to the broader COVID-19 outbreak, the immediate needs of economically vulnerable populations caused by COVID-19 related closures, the increased demand for medical information and support, and fear and confusion about the outbreak among our most vulnerable residents. We anticipate that the primary areas of need includes: Food for children out of school, housing assistance for displaced workers (renters and owners), people experiencing homelessness (shelters in Monroe County are full or no longer taking new individuals and families due to the recent crisis) and college students facing barriers. Pocono Mountains United Way reserves the right to support other areas of need that develop from the crisis.
Pocono Mountains United Way is administering grants from the Fund and the decision of funding is determined by a subset of the Board of Directors of Pocono Mountains United Way and other community leaders. Together we are proactively identifying potential grant recipients, solicit guidance on potential recipients from community advisers, and recommend final awards. Funds are being released on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis, making it possible to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs in subsequent funding phases.
Top 5 Tips for Winter Pet Safety
As winter approaches here in the Poconos, we can't forget to keep our pets safe during the cold weather. Winter storms can pose a real hassle for us, as well as our little friends.
Here are the Top 5 tips for winter pet safety:
1) If possible, bring your pets inside during cold winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure they have access to non-frozen drinking water.
2) If the animals are outside, make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.
3) If pets cannot come indoors, make sure they are protected by a dry, draft-free enclosure large enough to allow them to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold in the pet’s body heat. Raise the floor a few inches off the ground and cover it with cedar shavings or straw. Turn the enclosure away from the wind and cover the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
4) Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate a pet’s paws. Wipe their paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.
5) Antifreeze is a deadly poison. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach.
Source: Red Cross
Top 10 Tips for Deep Frying a Turkey
The current pandemic may be keeping us from seeing our families this Thanksgiving, but that's not going to stop some of us from deep frying our turkeys. If you fall into that group, especially if this is your first time, take a minute to make sure you are doing it as safely as possible.
Here are the Top 10 tips for safely deep frying a turkey:
- Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages and a safe distance away from trees and other structures.
- Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups.
- Watch the weather. Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
- Place the fryer on a level surface, and avoid moving it once it's in use.
- Leave 2 feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid overfilling. Oil can ignite when it makes contact with the burner.
- Choose a smaller turkey for frying. A bird that's 8 to 10 pounds is best; pass on turkeys over 12 pounds.
- Purchase a fryer with temperature controls, and watch the oil temperature carefully. Cooking oil that is heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. If you notice the oil is smoking, turn the fryer off.
- Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
- Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
Source: State Farm
Winter Storm Words to Know
In Monroe County, winter is coming. And with it, winter storms. You'll hear a lot about them, so it's important to know exactly what all of the commonly used phrases are referring to.
Here is a list of the top winter storm words to know:
Freezing Rain: Rain that freezes when it hits the ground. This makes a layer of ice on roads, walkways, trees, and power lines.
Sleet: Rain that turns to ice before reaching the ground.
Frostbite: A medical condition when skin or body tissue is damaged from freezing. Hypothermia: A sickness when your body temperature drops below what is needed to be healthy and work properly. Winter Weather: A warning issued when conditions could cause dangerous situations (such as icy roads or sidewalks). Winter Storm Watch: A warning issued when severe winter conditions may affect your area. Winter Storm Warning: A warning issued when a lot of snow or sleet is expected in the next few hours or day.
Ice Dam First-Aid
A major cause of water damage in the winter is ice damming. If you suspect you may have an ice dam on your roof, there are steps you can take to help minimize the damage.
- Remove snow from the roof. This eliminates one of the ingredients necessary for the formation of an ice dam.
- A "roof rake" and push broom can be used to remove snow, but may damage the roofing materials.
- In an emergency situation where water is flowing into the house structure, making channels through the ice dam allows the water behind the dam to drain off the roof.
The are all temporary solutions. If you are having an issue with ice damming, a long-term solution needs to be sought.
Top 5 Hazards of Kerosene Heaters
If you are one of the many homes and businesses around Monroe and Pike County that use a kerosene heater, you should take precautions against a number of serious hazards.
Here are the Top 5
1) Fire Fire could be caused by operating the heater too close to furniture, draperies or other combustibles, by knocking over a lighted heater, or by accidentally igniting fuel when filling the tank.
2) Explosions Explosions could be caused by use of the wrong kind of fuel, or by operating the heater in an area where there are combustible fumes.
3) Burns Burns could be caused by direct contact with a heater, or by ignition of combustible clothing. Children especially should be kept at a safe distance from operating heaters. Even pets could be injured.
4) Asphyxiation Kerosene heaters consume oxygen as they burn. If they are operated in a small room or in an inadequately ventilated area, oxygen in the air could be reduced to a dangerous level. Reduced oxygen supply could lead to incomplete combustion of fuel and the production of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas which in sufficient concentrations, or if breathed over a period of time, can kill without warning.
5) Indoor air pollution In addition to carbon monoxide, kerosene heaters can emit such pollutants as carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide. Breathing these substances can create a risk, especially to such people as pregnant women, asthmatics, individuals with cardiovascular disease, elderly persons and young children.
Top 5 Features of Radiant Kerosene Heaters
Radiant heaters - usually rectangular in shape - are designed for smaller areas. They also feature a wick and combustion chamber and have, in addition, a reflector which directs heat at people or objects.
1) Removable Fuel Tank Having a removable fuel tank means that the heater can stay in place. Only the fuel tank needs to be carried to where the fuel is stored. A radiant heater without a removable fuel tank must be moved for each refueling - just like a convective model.
2) (UL) Label Be sure your heater has a recognized seal of approval such as the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label. The UL label means the heater has performed well under test conditions and meets acceptable fire safety standards.
3) Battery-Operated Lighting Device Be sure your heater has a battery-operated lighting device — it eliminates the need for matches.
4) Safety Shutoff Device Heaters should have a safety shutoff device, which extinguishes the flame if the unit is jarred or tipped over.
5) Electric Fan Electric fans will increase the flow of warm air from the heater.