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Since You Asked

It can prove risky to turnoff the heat We have a mobile home and plan on going south for the winter. We will drain our hot water tank and wrap our pipes.

Can we safely turn off the heat? We always come home to a big heating bill as we are afraid the pipes might burst.

' Marilyn H., Talent

How much of a gambler are you, Marilyn? Chad Staley, manager at Modern Plumbing in Medford, says he'd have to know that before he can answer your question.

A lot depends on your house, your pipes and the weather, Staley says. If your mobile home is outfitted with gray, plastic polybutylene pipe, it's probably not a good idea to cut the heat.

We're supposed to have a pretty severe winter this year, Staley says.

If you want to take your chances, that's fine. But Staley recommends a couple of must-dos: Make sure you close the valve to the washing machine, and, if you can find it, the ice maker.

Those are both spots prone to freezing, says Staley, whose advice probably will save a lot of people a lot of money.

Who knows what kind of winter we'll have? he says.

It depends on whom you ask. The most recent edition of the Old Farmer's Almanac calls for a mild winter, but other sources say no, it'll snow.

In any case, who wants to gamble with plumbing?

Send questions to Since You Asked, Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to