Let a small amount of water drip from your faucets to minimize the risk of the water freezing and the pipe bursting from the pressure of the expanding ice. You can collect the water that is dripping and re-use it to water plants or fill humidifiers.
Seal all air leaks that may let an icy blast reach your pipes.
Water pipes located next to an outside wall are often subjected to sub-freezing temperatures. Any plumbing located in a garage or any other unheated building is susceptible to low temperatures. Any exposed pipes should be wrapped or insulated. There are other devices such as heat tape which can be used to keep pipes from freezing.
Keep the water meter box lid closed to prevent the meter from freezing.
Don’t forget outside faucets. Turn off valves to outside faucets, drain any water remaining in the faucets and disconnect any hoses. If there are no valves to outside faucets, they may be protected by insulating them and then placing a plastic bag over them to protect the insulation.
Pipes in cabinets could be located against an outside wall . Even if these pipes have been insulated, leave the cabinet doors open to allow the heat in the room to help keep them from freezing.
If your house has a crawl space located under it, close all air vents located in the foundation wall. This will prevent the pipes in the crawl space from being exposed to the cold air.
If you plan an extended vacation during cold weather, call us at (540) 853-5700 to have the water turned off at the meter. Then you may drain your water pipes, turn off the water heater and other water using devices, to give your pipes extra protection from freezing.
If Your Water Pipes Freeze…
Even if all precautions are taken you still might find a frozen pipe in your house. Open the cold water faucet nearest the frozen pipe to relieve the pressure of expanding ice that may cause a pipe to burst.
If only one faucet has no water, there is usually an internal plumbing issue that is the homeowner’s responsibility.
If there is no water at any of the faucets, that is an indicator that the Water Authority needs to investigate a frozen water meter or broken water line in the distribution system.
Thawing a Frozen Pipe…
Be careful! Gentle heat from a light bulb, hairdryer on warm setting or heat tape is good. If the pipe is already cracked from freezing, as the water thaws, it may begin to spray out risking danger of electrocution if it sprays the appliance you are using for thawing. Do not use a torch or other open flame.