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FRIGID Cold weather a threat to plumbing and pets

Snow fills the air as it’s dispersed by a snowblower Thursday in southwest Jamestown.1 / 2
A payloader is used to clear snow Thursday from some driveways in southwest Jamestown. John M. Steiner / The Sun2 / 2
 
 
 

People need to take precautions with their homes and pets in the cold weather anticipated this holiday weekend, according to plumbers and veterinarians.

The National Weather Service is forecasting overnight lows Friday and Saturday near 25 degrees below zero. Daytime highs could also be 10 degrees below or colder.

While the coldest weather ends by early next week, the temperatures will still remain below average through much of the month of January.

The extended forecast from AccuWeather includes just eight days above 20 degrees during the entire month. The average high in Jamestown in January is 20 degrees.

The AccuWeather forecast does not include any day in January above the freezing mark.

Prevent pipe problems

Temperatures of 20 below zero seem to be a trigger point for problems for homeowners, said Troy Trautman, manager at Arneson Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning in Jamestown.

“Not much you can do at 20 below if you have plumbing along an outside wall,” he said. “If you suspect you may have a problem with freezing, keep a trickle of water moving.”

If you suspect you may have a problem with freezing, keep a trickle of water moving.

TROY TRAUTMAN,

Plumbing manager, , Arneson Heating & Air Conditioning

Frozen water pipes can be a particular problem in older mobile homes, according to Ed Stiem, parts and service manager for Liechty Homes.

“Leave the trickle running from both the hot and cold side of the faucet,” he said. “You want about an eighth of an inch stream and leave the cupboards open below the sink.”

Stiem said mobile home owners might see problems sooner than owners of conventional homes.

“When it is extremely cold, like 10 below, you want to turn the heat up a bit,” he said. “That circulates warm air in the belly of the home.”

Stiem said this may add to the energy costs for the home for a few days, but it is more economical than repairs or service calls to thaw out pipes.

Trautman said the recent cold weather has kept plumbers busy. Calls have also included furnaces that have failed leaving the entire home cold.

“If there was any weakness in the heating system this weather brought it out,” Trautman said.

Stiem said homeowners should use care in thawing out frozen pipes. Some types of space heaters can create a fire risk.

Pets

People need to know their pets and monitor them to make sure the cold weather doesn’t get to be too much for them, according to Dawn Enzminger, veterinarian and owner of Dr. Dawn’s Pet Stop.

“It depends on the breed, the hair coat, the age and the health of the animal,” she said. “The very young and the very old don’t have a tolerance for the cold.”

Other factors include the size of the dog or cat and whether it is used to the outdoors.

No matter what the pet, people should monitor it for signs of distress such as shivering, whining or simply moving slowly and acting as if it is in pain..

“You also need to look at their feet for signs of frostbite,” Enzminger said. “Frostbite and hypothermia can be problems for pets just like people.”

For indoor pets, the solution can be simple.

“If it’s an inside pet keep it inside,” Enzminger said. “For outside pets, offer them a heat source or bring them in to something that gets them out of the 20 below.”

Heat sources can be heating pads that go inside a dog house or kennel. Pets can also be brought into garages or other buildings that may not be heated, but are warmer than the outdoor environment. Outdoor dogs should also have additional feed and heated water available when it is cold. Outdoor animals, especially cats, face another danger when they crawl into a warm engine compartment of a vehicle.

“Whap the hood a time or two to get them out before you start the vehicle,” Enzminger said.

knorman@jamestownsun.com

(701) 952-8452

 
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