PORTLAND – Crews responded to more than 200 water problems over the weekend that were mostly caused by frozen pipes and those issues could continue the next couple days, authorities said.
Dispatchers where inundated with calls prompting volunteer companies to scramble to help firefighters address the water problems and prioritize resources, said Cassandra Ulven with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.
At one location, water spilled from a third-story Tualatin apartment, causing ceiling sheet rock to collapse. No one was injured, but the family was displaced, Ulven said.
Pipes also burst at some area schools Monday, forcing students to be sent home early.
Firefighters urged the public to remember these cold weather tips.
- Know how to shut-off the water to your home and unhook outside hoses from faucets.
- Place foam covers over outside faucets and crawl space openings.
- Leaving a trickle of water running from a faucet farthest away from the water meter can be helpful.
- You can also wrap insulating material or electrical wire heating wrap around the pipes. This can be purchased at any home improvement store.
- Never use a propane torch or an open flame to thaw a pipe due to the risk of igniting wood beams, flooring and other combustible materials around pipes.
- If your pipes freeze, thaw plumbing lines safely with a hair dryer or heat lamp. Once the pipe has thawed, make sure to leave a little water running so the pipe doesn’t freeze again.
- If a pipe inside your home breaks, close your main water shut-off valve to your house. Most shutoff valves are located where the water line enters the house, either at the front of your house where you connect your hose, or basement near the hot water heater, or inside the garage.
- Turn off the water heater. Locate the dedicated shut-off valve on the cold water inlet.
Additional tips for protecting plumbing can be found on the City of Portland website. Customers who experience urgent water problems can also call the Portland Water Bureau’s 24/7 emergency hot-line at 503-823-4874.