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City Manager's Office
City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Dory Ehrlich, Fire Department, (510) 981-5506

Prevent Frozen Water Pipes and Practice Heater Safety

Berkeley, California (Thursday, January 11, 2007) - The National Weather Service is forecasting record cold temperatures in the Bay Area Thursday-Sunday, with the coldest temperatures expected on Friday and Saturday.

These very cold temperatures may lead to frozen water pipes. Since water expands as it freezes, tremendous pressure is put on whatever contains it, including metal or plastic pipes. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages or kitchen cabinets.

Here are some tips to keep your pipes from freezing:

Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.

Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.

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.

Keep the thermostat set to the same temperatures during the day and night. If you will be going away during this cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees.

The following heating safety tips should be followed all winter:

·         Make sure you have a working smoke detector on every level of your home.

·         Floor furnaces can be very dangerous when used improperly. Keep anything that can catch on fire away from the heating grate. Never put items on top of a heater. It is dangerous to use your heater to dry clothing or other flammable material.

·         Never use kerosene heaters or charcoal grills indoors.

·         Never use your gas stove or oven to heat your home.

·         Keep portable heaters at least 3' away from walls and combustible materials. Make sure these heaters have "tip switches," which automatically turn off if the heaters tip over.

·         Make sure wood stoves are properly installed, have adequate ventilation, and are at least 3' away from flammable material.

·         Use a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace.

·         Turn off your heater before going to bed.


Berkeley’s Office of Emergency Services wants to keep you safe.  Please     

call Dory Ehrlich at (510) 981-5605 for more information.


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