There are several things you can do to protect your water pipes from freezing and possibly bursting. Take the following steps before cold weather arrives:
Before Onset of Freezing Weather
- Turn your sprinkler system off to prevent icy sidewalks, driveways and streets
- Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors.
- Cover outdoor faucets with a Styrofoam cap or faucet sock.
- Check water supply lines in unheated areas such as a crawl space, attic or garage. Water pipes in these areas should be insulated. If you find exposed water pipes, consider installing a foam pipe sleeve for insulation.
- Know where your main water shut-off valve is, in case a pipe breaks and it is necessary to turn water off in a hurry. Check this valve now to make sure it is working. The valve might be located near the hot water heater or inside your garage.
- If you are traveling this winter or own a vacant property, consider turning the water off at the meter and draining the faucets.
During Freezing Weather
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- Find the faucet farthest from the main water line and allow it to drip cold water at a very slow rate in order to keep water moving through the pipes.
- Keep extra water on hand in case a main break or frozen pipe cuts off your water supply.
- If you will be going away for an extended time, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
To Thaw Frozen Pipes
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes are exterior walls, or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- Keep the faucet open. As the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area.
- Warm the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, a hair dryer, by placing a portable space heater nearby (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.
- If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or the pipe has burst, you should call a licensed plumber.
Turning off Water to Your Home
If a pipe has burst, turn water off at the shut off valve. If you are unable to locate your shutoff valve, here are steps to cut off the water at the meter:
- You will need a wrench, pliers or utility shut off tool.
- Locate your meter box. This is normally close to the street in the front of your property, but could be in the rear of your property.
- Open the box by removing the lid. Some boxes have more than one meter. Your meter will be the one located closest to your property.
- Locate the valve on the meter within the box. You may need to remove snow or water from the box.
- Place your tool or pliers on the valve. Turn the valve clockwise 90 degrees or until the valve can no longer be turned.
Here is a video on how to turn off the water at the meter: https://youtu.be/lNQ7Gk95yTM. If you need assistance shutting off your water, contact dispatch at 817-281-1000.