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Prevention of Frozen Pipes

Water spigot Frozen water pipes can be an unexpected frustration for residents during cold weather. The Water Department offers a few tips to help prevent frozen water pipes.

  • Be sure pipes in unheated parts of your home, including crawl spaces, are insulated.
  • Plug up drafty cracks and repair broken window panes.
  • Remove hoses from outside faucets and be sure they are drained and shut off.
  • Advise all household members where the main shut-off valve is located in case of an emergency.
  • If you will be away from home for an extended time, shut off the water supply and drain the system.
  • If you leave for only a few weeks, set the thermostat high enough so the temperature in your basement will offset a severe temperature drop.
  • NEVER try to thaw frozen pipes with an open flame. Use a hair dryer, sweeper exhaust, light bulb, or heat tape. Better yet, call your plumber.
  • Keep meter box lids closed to prevent cold air from freezing the water meter.
  • If you have experienced problems in the past--during sub-zero periods, keep a trickle of water running from the faucet highest in the house. This trickle should be a steady stream the size of the lead in a pencil.
  • NEVER use antifreeze to keep pipes from freezing. The chemicals could be drawn back into the water supply and contaminate the system. In addition, antifreeze residue is very difficult to remove from your water pipes.
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