Monday, December 17, 2007

Two Easy Things to do to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Thousands of families have one or more rooms in their homes ruined and their lives disrupted each winter by water pipes freezing and breaking, warns the nation's largest insurer of homes, State Farm Insurance.

According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, claim payments by all insurance companies over the past decade for these kinds of losses have exceeded $4 billion.

When the outside temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 6 degrees Celsius), water pipes in homes with little or no insulation are likely to freeze and break. In fact, a one-eighth inch (3-millimeter) crack in a pipe can spew out more than 250 gallons of water a day, destroying floors, furniture, appliances and personal items.

Homeowners can avoid frozen pipes by having adequate insulation where pipes run along outside walls, floors and ceilings. They can disconnect outside garden hoses, wrap exposed pipes with insulating sleeves or tape, and seal foundation cracks that let arctic air freeze pipes in crawlspaces.

Additionally, there are two simple tasks homeowners can do in about two minutes that can help protect pipes and homes when a severe freeze is predicted: open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to piping under sinks and vanities near exterior walls, and run a small trickle of water at vulnerable cold and hot faucets.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Eagle County Water Deal Could Affect Summit County

A recent deal between Denver Water and Eagle County won't have any immediate effect on reservoir operations and trans-divide diversions in Summit County.

But the agreement could increase the pressure to export more water from Summit County in the long run - or it could provide impetus for an overall settlement that balances West Slope and Front Range interests.

"Anytime something like that happens, it puts a bigger bulls eye on Summit and Grand County," said County Commissioner Tom Long. "It's just a matter of time before they Denver Water) look to start maximizing and exercising their water rights here," Long said.

Under the agreement, Denver Water relinquished long-held rights to water from streams flowing out of the Eagles Nest Wilderness, on the Eagle County side of the Gore Range, including the Upper Eagle River, the Piney River and Turkey Creek.

Plans for developing that water included a pipeline through the Gore Range to North Tenmile Creek and into Dillon Reservoir, for export to the Front Range via the Roberts Tunnel.