Protect your Water Pipes for Winter
As winter approaches, the Marion Water Department offers these tips for homeowners to help prevent winter water freeze-ups.
- If you have an irrigation system, make sure it’s serviced and drained.
- Remove any hoses from outside faucets.Even if you have “frost free” faucets, they will freeze up if an attached hose is left with water in it.Remove the hose and store it indoors for the winter – the hose will also last longer.
- Seal any foundation cracks, especially around outside faucets and where water pipes are located in the basement.
- Wrap pipes using foam tubes (available at most hardware stores) anywhere that water pipes are in proximity to outside walls.
- Caulk any cracks in the foundation, or around basement windows, where winter winds may penetrate and freeze nearby pipes.
- Turn off valves to outside faucets. There is usually a control valve in the basement to each individual outside faucet. Do this even if the faucet is “frost free” to prevent the faucet from freezing and breaking. After turning off the valve, go outside and open the faucet to make sure the valve is off and drip-free.
- If you notice water temperature getting extremely cold, consider opening a door below the sink or vanity to allow heat to the piping.This step is most likely to occur if the sink or vanity is located on an outside wall of the home.Also, on really cold nights one can leave a small trickle of water run which allows the warmer system water to flow through the underground pipes.
IF YOU EXPERIENCE A FROZEN PIPE:
- DO NOT use an open flame to thaw a pipe – you could burn your house down. Do not use an electric arc welder to thaw a frozen pipe – you could burn your house, or even your neighbor’s house down.
- Open the piping area to room heat and use a hair dryer or small electric heater to thaw the pipe.It may take a while, but maintain supervision of the thawing process. The freeze up may cause a split in the water pipe and a subsequent leak after the pipe is thawed. You must be ready and know how to shut off water to the affected area should water start spraying during the thawing process.
- Be familiar with where the master valve is located - in the basement, usually near the water meter, and carefully test it to make sure it will work when needed.
- If the master valve is not operable, you will need to call a plumber for repairs.
- In an emergency where water is leaking and causing damage, and if a plumber is not readily available, you can call the Water Department for assistance at 743-6310.After hour charges do apply.
A few preventative measures could prevent the potential damage and inconvenience of frozen water pipes in your home this winter. Take the time to do it now.