Don't get left in the cold with frozen or broken water pipes. Besides creating a soggy mess, broken water pipes can put a strain on your wallet. Whether indoors or outdoors, service lines are the homeowner or property owner's responsibility. This includes the pipe connected from the water main (usually in the street) to and then through your residence or business. We recommend you regularly have lines checked for blockages or aging.
Indoor water lines and pipes
Use these handy tips to avoid a wet winter:
- For around $2, you can pick up a six-foot piece of pipe insulation at your favorite hardware store. Not only is it relatively inexpensive, it’s easy to do. Simply measure, cut and pop the foam on your pipes.
- On extra cold days, open your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors, especially if they are against an exterior wall. The air that heats your home will keep your pipes warm.
- In extreme temperatures, run a continuous stream of cold water, about the diameter of a pencil, from the faucet. Catch the water in a bucket and save for another purpose.
- Use caulk or insulation to seal leaks that allow cold air in near indoor pipes.
If a pipe freezes...
- Thaw it using a hair dryer, but do not use the dryer around standing water.
- Heat water on the stove, soak towels in the hot water and wrap them around cold sections of the pipes.
- When thawing a pipe, start thawing it nearest to the faucet. Make sure the faucet is turned on so that melted water can drip out.
If a pipe breaks...
- If it's indoors, turn off your water supply at the main valve.
- Contact a plumber to make repairs.
When your home's alone...
- Taking a trip? Give a neighbor your contact information. He or she can call us to report anything unusual with your utilities, like water coming from your home or a downed power line in the yard. Crews can respond to shut off water or mitigate any damage outside the home.
- Set your thermostat at 55 degrees. Turning it off can lead to frozen or broken water pipes. Also, turn the water heater to its lowest setting.
- Turn off your indoor water supply at the valve. That way, if you do spring a leak, you limit the amount of water running through your home.
Outdoor water lines
Cold temperatures drive frost deeper into the ground, which can freeze water service lines. According to City Code, property owners are required to maintain (including defrosting) and/or replace service lines to the curb stop valve (usually at property line).
If you have had a problem with freezing water service lines, we urge you to consider lowering your service line to prevent this problem in the future. Water lines are required to be at least five feet deep. We recommend you call a qualified contractor to perform thawing or utility line lowering work.