Cold Weather Tips

Before Freezing Weather

  • Remove garden hoses from outside faucets. Insulate outside faucets with Styrofoam cover, rags or paper.
  • Cover vents around the foundation of your home.
  • Know where your property owner’s cut-off valve is located and how to use it. Apply oil such as WD-40 to the cut-off valve before operating to prevent the valve from breaking. The valve is located adjacent to the water meter box under a 6" metal lid.
  • Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by repairing broken windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and eliminating drafts near doors.
  • Know the location of your water shut-off valve and test it regularly. If a pipe breaks, you won't want to have to find it then or, worse, wait for someone to arrive at your place to find it for you. In most single-family homes, the shut-off valve is in the basement or the crawlspace, on a wall facing the street.
  • Insulate pipes that may be vulnerable to the cold or have caused problems before. Pipes close to exterior walls or in unheated basements or crawlspaces can be wrapped with pieces of insulation. Don't overlook pipes near windows, which can quickly freeze. For particularly difficult pipes, consult a professional on how to select and apply heat tape.
  • For outside water meters, keep the lid to the meter pit closed tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation, so don't disturb it. Be sure the meter box is not broken, missing or out of place. Report all broken or missing covers.
  • If you didn't get your sprinkler system off and drained this year, make sure to check for leaks when you turn on the system next spring.

 

In Sub-Freezing Weather

  • Drip outside faucets 24 hours a day (5 drops per minute). This is not necessary unless temperatures are expected to be 28 degrees or below for at least 4 hours. (Be sure to turn off the faucets after the threat of freezing weather.)
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls.
  • If you have an attached garage, keep its doors shut. Occasionally, plumbing is routed through this unheated space, leaving it vulnerable to winter's worst.
  • In sustained sub-freezing weather, let water drip slowly from inside faucets.
  • Take extra precautions to protect pipes that have frozen in the past.

 

If You Are Not Going To Be Home

  • Shut water off at the property owner’s cut-off valve.
  • Drain all outside water faucets if your house will be unoccupied for several days (leave outside faucets open).
  • Or, leave home heating system on at a low setting.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls.
  • Keep your thermostat set above 55 degrees when leaving your house or business for several days.

 

If your pipes freeze

  • Shut off the water immediately. Don't attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints.
  • Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to a pipe. You can use a hair dryer, space heater, or hot water. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended, and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames. Always be careful of the potential for electric shock in and around standing water.
  • Remember: When thawing things, slower is better. Pipes warmed too fast may break anyway.
  • Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.

Renters and tenants may be responsible for personal property damage caused by broken water pipes during severe weather conditions. Residents should contact property management/landlord or maintenance personnel to locate property owner’s cut-off valve and find ways to avoid pipe breakage during a freeze.

 

 

Did You Know?

Leaks inside the toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day.

For questions or to report problems: 814-266-3146