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Archive for Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Weather-related problems don’t end with storm

December 11, 2007

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Threat of icy weather causes supermarket rush

The clouds hanging over Lawrence all day Monday started spitting freezing rain just a few minutes before predicted. But residents rushed to the stores before the roads became slick. Enlarge video

Property concerns

Whom do you call when winter weather affects your property? That depends on the situation.

Downed tree limbs? If they're in the street or a city right of way, report the situation to police. If the limbs are on your property, they're your problem. But limbs on electric lines should be reported to Westar Energy, (800) LIGHT-KS.

Electricity out? Report outages to Westar, (800) LIGHT-KS.

Frozen pipes? Call a plumber.

You went to the grocery store for extra milk. You packed a survival kit for your car. You stocked up on extra batteries for your flashlight.

But maybe you're not done yet. After many winter storms pass, the cleanup remains.

K-State Research and Extension says homeowners should use de-icing products with caution and be careful not to overuse de-icers, which can contain chemicals that can damage plants and concrete.

If the car freezes over, Linda Cottin, owner of Cottin's Hardware and Rental, 1832 Mass., said lock de-icer works - and it's better than the old method of pouring hot water on the car.

"It refreezes as quickly as it melts," Cottin said of the hot-water method. "So it's probably not the most efficient way to do it."

And then there's the storm that could be brewing inside a house - in the pipes.

Many homeowners don't discover that their pipes have frozen until the weather warms up a bit and the water sprays, said Kevin Hoppe, president of Action Plumbing.

Hoppe said the best prevention is keeping the heat at a reasonable temperature and eliminating any drafts that could direct cold air at pipes.

A hair dryer could melt an accessible frozen pipe, but bigger problems will require a plumber, Hoppe said.

He said solving the problem quickly is better than procrastinating.

"If you find it quick and you get it thawed out, there's a good chance you might not break the pipe," he said.

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