Preparing for cold weather is very important, can save you money and prevent possible damage.
We also remind you that hydrants near your property must be kept clear of snow. Every second counts when a fire is raging. The fire department needs to be able to access the hydrant immediately.
Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes
- Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, water sprinkler lines, water supply pipes in unheated interior areas such as basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
- We recommend that every member of a household know where the water shut-off valve is in the house and how to use it in case pipes freeze and break. The water shut-off valve is most likely where water service enters a home through the foundation
Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of water supply lines:
- Drain or blow out water from water sprinkler system.
- Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated. A hot water supply line can freeze just as a cold water supply line can freeze. If water is not running through the pipe, and the water temperature becomes cold.
- Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar materials on exposed water pipes.
During cold weather, take preventive action
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage. .
- When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip (at a minimal amount) from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe, even at a trickle, helps prevent frozen pipes.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.
To Thaw Frozen Pipes
- If your house or basement is flooding turn off the water valve.
- If there is no flooding but you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, make sure your main water valve is turned on. If it is, suspect a frozen pipe. Locate the suspected frozen area of the water pipe.
- Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt more ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water..
- 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 if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may also freeze.