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Prepare Household Pipes  for Freezing Temperatures

frozen pipeWith colder temperatures in the forecast, residents should take steps to keep their water pipes from freezing and possibly bursting this winter. The following tips can help.

  • Make sure all pipes outside the house are insulated.
  • Check to see that pipes in unheated parts of your home (crawl and attic spaces, under cabinets) are insulated.
  • Check to be sure outside faucet washers are secure.
  • Keep the lid on the meter box so your meter won’t freeze.
  • Make sure everyone in the household knows where the main water shut-off valve is, in case a pipe breaks and it is necessary to turn the water off in a hurry. Check this valve now to make sure it is working.
  • If you must leave your house vacant for a long period, turn off your water supply at the gate valve on the resident’s side of the meter box and have a plumber do the necessary work to prepare pipes to prevent damage.
  • During prolonged freezes, you may want to open all cabinet doors that contain water pipes to allow heat to enter them. You may want to place a lamp in the cabinets so the bulb can keep the area warm, but be certain no flammable materials are near it. Relocate any toxic materials so children and pets cannot get to them if cabinet doors are left open.
  • Keep extra water drawn up during freezing weather in case a main break or frozen pipe cuts off your water supply.

If a resident has no water and thinks it may be because of a frozen pipe, follow the steps listed below.

  • Check your private plumbing, as it is probably frozen at the point where the pipe goes under the house or through an attic, if not insulated. Check there first.
  • If a pipe is frozen, it is safest to call a plumber to handle the problem. The pipe may be cracked and will burst when thawed. If an electrical appliance is used to heat the pipe, spraying water from a burst pipe could get onto it, creating the risk of electrocution.

If someone suspects a water main is broken, report the location immediately to the Water Department’s 24/7 phone number at 817-392-4477 so it can be repaired as soon as possible. Signs of a broken water main are water running down the street and buckled pavement. Don’t assume your neighbor called and do not use e-mail to report main breaks. E-mail is not constantly monitored, and this could cause a delayed response.