Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Protecting flooded homes, MHU's from freezing temperatures

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BATON ROUGE - Temperatures are dropping into the 20s this weekend. The cold weather is going to be a problem for people who are still trying to rebuild after the flood as many people still have gutted homes without insulation.

It's recommended all water pipes that could be exposed to freezing temperatures are insulated with foam pipe tubing or another reliable material. Insulation slows down the freezing process.

Michael and Margie Johnson are living in a FEMA Manufactured Housing Unit while they wait to fix up their home. It's gutted after the August flood.

"The house don't have no heat in it right now," said Michael Johnson.

Without heat and walls, his pipes could be at risk. That's why he wrapped insulation around them weeks ago, the first time it got cold. He's seen the damage a burst pipe can make and that's not a risk he wanted to take.

"It wasn't that cold but I said, 'I'm just going to go over there in case,'" he said.

Claudette Reichel with the LSU Ag Center says it's a good idea to insulate your pipes to avoid additional damage and allow faucets to trickle.

"Let faucets run at a slow trickle," she said. "Also, know where their main water shut-off valve is and be sure it's not stuck in case there is an issue."

Reichel says homeowners can also turn off the water and drain the pipes, especially if they're not living in the house, to eliminate the possibility of a pipe burst.

In addition, many will be running heat sources this weekend. When using a fireplace or wood stove, test it in advance to make sure it exhausts to the outdoors. Never use a gas range, charcoal grill or electric generator for heat indoors, that can cause a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide.

Reichel also suggests keeping a carbon monoxide monitor or alarm in sleeping and work areas.

While thousands of people are living in a FEMA MHU it's recommended the kitchen sink and maybe the tub drip during freezing temperatures. Also, open the cabinet doors below the sink so warm air can flow around the pipes.

All MHU's come equipped with weather radios, so it's important to listen to them for warnings. Survivors who have weather-related issues with their MHU should call the maintenance number at 800-335-8546.



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