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Before it turns colder, Bend Fire urges steps to avoid frozen pipes, other woes

Bend Fire truck

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Winter is right around the corner. A couple of weeks ago, we got a dose of cold days and nights, but more will be on its way. The last cold snap generated several calls for frozen sprinkler pipes, Bend Fire & Rescue said Wednesday.

These calls can be avoided by doing some simple things. As we enjoy this week of warm weather, it is a perfect time to get your house and business winterized and ready for the months of cold weather ahead of us.

To winterize your home, make sure your pipes are properly insulated, especially in your non-heated areas of your home, like your attic and basement. If you have done any remodeling that may have compromised the insulation in your ceilings, this is the perfect time to make sure everything was reinstalled correctly.

Make sure you disconnect your outdoor hoses and insulate your hose bib.

This is also a great time to get your fireplace inspected and cleaned by a professional chimney sweep before starting that cozy and warm fire.

Also, while the snow is not on the ground, find your water shut off valve to your house. The water boxes are located in your yard, typically near the sidewalk. Knowing where this valve is located BEFORE snow covers the ground makes it easy to quickly shut off the water to your home if needed.

For your businesses, Bend Fire & Rescue would like to remind building owners, facility managers, and building maintenance personnel to take actions before winter hits to prevent fire sprinkler systems from freezing.

Our department responds to several fire sprinkler activations due to pipes breaking from freezing every year. These breaks can cause significant water damage, but can easily be prevented. Also, frozen fire sprinkler pipes, even if they don’t break, render the sprinkler system inoperative to protect buildings from fire, thus jeopardizing lives and property.  

Most fire sprinkler systems that freeze are the result of lack of maintenance.  Ensure that all periodic maintenance has been completed.  Contact your fire sprinkler service company to schedule service if it is overdue.  Frequencies for maintenance vary depending on the type of system that is installed. 

Another common cause of sprinkler system freezing is inadequate heating in normally heated spaces. This often occurs in vacant commercial spaces when the heating system is turned off since there is no tenant. If you have unwrapped exposed water pipes, insulate them as soon as possible.

These simple steps can prevent the costly damage from fire sprinkler pipe breaks, not to mention time lost to restore your building back to full operation. 

Check your fire sprinkler system today.  Call your service company to schedule maintenance.  Check your heating and ventilation system.  Use safe heating practices.  Call us for any questions related to fire sprinkler systems and how to prevent a freeze.

If fire sprinkler system does freeze or is inoperable for any reason, contact your local fire department immediately.

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