Friday, December 19, 2008

Keep Exposed Pipes and Hoses Protected

Pleasantly warm weather has returned to much of Georgia this week. But it’s still winter, and freezing temperatures will be back. Don’t forget to keep outdoor pipes and hoses protected.
Freezing temperatures can cause the water in an exposed pipe or hose to expand. If the water expands too much, the pipe or hose bursts. It’s that simple.

"With home irrigation systems, you probably wouldn't know you had any pipe damage until you turned it on for the first spring watering," said Kerry Harrison, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension irrigation specialist.

Most in-ground sprinkler pipes will be OK. Only the top 2 inches of the ground will freeze in most of Georgia. Pipes should be well below this level. Other irrigation components, such as backflow-prevention valves, are at ground level, though, and could be in danger.

If there are any exposed valves or pipes around your home, tape them up or "use a good old sack to wrap them," Harrison said. Home-improvement stores have many tapes, foams and gadgets to keep these pipes warm on cold, winter nights.

The tips of sprinkler heads can hold water. When frozen, they can rupture. The whole sprinkler system holds water, too, even when it isn't being used. Don't forget to drain the system, Harrison said. If you don't drain it properly in the winter, your sprinkler could be a geyser when you turn it on next spring.

If you've bought a home with an installed irrigation system, find this drain valve. Some systems are equipped with automatic drain valves.

Don't forget about outside water hoses. You can do two things:

* Leave the hoses hanging outside. But disconnect them from faucets.

* Disconnect, drain and store hoses someplace with a constant temperature. This will prolong the life of hoses.

If you leave hoses undrained outside in the winter, don't move them or touch them in freezing weather. You could break them as frozen hoses are fragile.

Private water users and rural residents with wells should check out their main water pump. Usually a quarter-inch pipe connects to the pressure switch. If it's metal, it likely won’t freeze. But if it's plastic, it might freeze and burst. This could cause the water pump to fail or continue to run and cause some major winter repairs.

If all these precautions fail and a pipe bursts, there's still one thing to remember: "Know where your main water cutoff is," Harrison said.

By Brad Haire
University of Georgia

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Statement from Governor Sonny Perdue Concerning Brief Filed on Georgia Petition for Supreme Court Review of Water Case

Nov. 20th
Governor Sonny Perdue issued the following statement today concerning a brief filed by federal government with the U.S. Supreme Court on a Georgia request for the Court to review one issue of the ongoing tri-state water negotiations:

“I am encouraged that the federal government strongly agreed with Georgia that the D.C. Circuit ruling was wrong when it set aside the settlement agreement that would have resolved a large part of the tri-state water wars. I find it extremely puzzling that the federal government would file a brief arguing the court ruling was wrong but yet does not want to fix the obvious mistakes. There is no question that this case is clearly important enough for the Supreme Court’s review.

All three states agree that this case is very important, and I believe review by the Supreme Court would result in Georgia’s position being upheld and a major piece of the water negotiations resolved.”