Draining water from pipes

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This subject is my biggest worry- assuming no power, at what point (when) does one decide one should start draining the water pipes in the house? I have well water, if that is any help to any respondents.

Also, if I have to drain the pipes, is it necessary to drain the hot water heater....being in the basement, I doubt that water would freeze. Or, could I save it as an alternate source of washing water for later?

Your knowledgable advice would be greatly appreciated.

-- Jo Ann (MaJo@Michiana.com), December 27, 1999


Jo Ann - I wouldn't describe myself as knowledgeable, but a little common sense tells me the following: After the power has been out a couple hours, it doesn't hurt anything to turn off the water at the main and drain the pipes. I think you should be ok with leaving the hot water heater alone. The issue with pipes is that they are closer to the outside walls and don't necessarily have any insulation. Again, common sense would say that if the temperature outside is not below freezing, then there is no particular need to drain the pipes. If you feel unsure, you can always turn on the water a little bit, that supposedly keeps pipes from freezing (although it could run up your water bill!).

Have a safe one.

-- Amy Leone (leoneamy@aol.com), December 27, 1999.

Good thoughts, Amy, only when the power is off the well pump won't work either. Those of us with wells don't have running water when the electricity is out, so keeping the water dripping isn't an option. What's the worst thing about no electricity? Can't flush the toilets! ;o)

I was wondering this, too, Jo Ann, thanks for the post.

-- Jill D. (jdance@mindspring.com), December 27, 1999.

JoAnn; I remember you asking this same question weeks back.?. But if your house temp remains around 50 degrees the water lines won't break or freeze. If you have a crawl space under the house, I would re-insulate the pipes between the floor joists. Wrap the water heater with an insulation blanket,get these from HD or Lowes or any hardware store. Hope it helps :)

-- Furie (furieart@dnet.net), December 27, 1999.

Furie.......I checked my printouts and found I had asked a similar question (HOW to drain the water pipes) but I still have lingering questions as to WHEN and IF I need to drain them.....will be using a kerosene heater, upstairs, so I don't know how warm that will keep a ranch house, or how cold the basement will get. Basement is not exposed, so might not get below freezing? Hence, wondered if maybe pipes would be okay, anyhow. Do very much appreciate you kind friends with your advice, incl. you, Furie.

-- Jo Ann (MaJo@Michiana.com), December 27, 1999.

JoAnn: Your welcome, just trying to help, Ranch home,right! Kerosene heater,I am willing to say you have the type that is white and is about 2 ft tall with wire around it,Right? Just make sure you read the instructions to it and you could possibly heat the whole house by placing the heater in the basement instead. Like some people up here in NC they use their wood stove to heat the house from the basement up. They leave the basement door open so the heat radiates up the steps and into the living area. Because you live in a very cold area, I would try the heater in the basement for a few nights to see if it will work for you that way ? ? My address is real in case you have any other questions....

-- Furie (furieart@dnet.net), December 27, 1999.

Furie......thanks again! You're right about the kero heater- I have big Corona (23,000 BTU's). I had planned on holing up in the basement, as it has a large area (no windows) so would stay warmer. However, a friend suggested that staying upstairs would be a comfort factor.....I could see outside as to whether anything is going on.

I could try leaving the heater in the basement, tho I wonder if it would be safe, since it would be unattended. (Of course, I would know enough not to have anything combusible anywhere near it, and I don't know how anything could happen. Just nervous with the service, I guess. But I'd rather try that than having to drain everything by myself. Thank you for the thought. You're a pal to keep offering suggestions.

-- Jo Ann (MaJo@Michiana.com), December 28, 1999.

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