Icy weather (copy)

Ice covers the elephant ears and banana plants on the side of a home on Perkins Road when temperatures took a nosedive in January 2015. With freeze warnings in effect for southeast Louisiana on Sunday night, organizations such as the American Red Cross are warning residents to take precautions to protect their pipes from freezing.

Advocate file photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING

With an arctic blast settling in to southeast Louisiana as expected, organizations are reminding residents to stay safe in the cold weather.

When the temperatures drop, certain pipes – including outdoor pipes or pipes in unheated interior areas or areas with little insulation – are all at risk of freezing, the American Red Cross warns.

To protect and prevent your pipes from freezing before the cold weather hits, follow these tips from the Red Cross:

--Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines. Do not put antifreeze in these lines, as it can be harmful to the environment and dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife and landscaping.

--Remove, drain and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain, and keep the outside valve open so that any water in the pipe can expand without causing it to burst.

--Add insulation to attics and crawl spaces.

--Check other areas in your home where water supply lines may be located in unheated areas, such as the garage and under kitchen or bathroom cabinets. Hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.

--Consider installing products such as a “pipe sleeve,” “heat tape” or “heat cable” on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can also provide some insulation to exposed pipes.

--Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines there.

--Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate.

--When the weather is very cold, allow cold water to drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes.

If your pipes do freeze in the colder weather, try these tips:

--Keep the faucet open. As the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow again. Running water through the pipe will help to melt ice.

--Apply heat to the frozen section of the pipe by using an electric heating pad, a hair dryer, a portable space heater or with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene, propane heater, charcoal stove or other open flame device to heat the pipe.

--Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If the frozen area is unknown or not accessible, call a licensed plumber.

--If one pipe freezes, check other faucets in the home to see if other pipes have frozen as well.

Find more tips from the American Red Cross here