Frozen Plumbing tips from the Water Department

Frozen Pipes

If you have water one day and not the next, you most likely have frozen pipes.

The City provides water service to the property, this service is deep underground below the frost line and is insulated by the earth.

The water service from the city’s valve to the house and all the home’s plumbing belongs to the home owner.  The city owns the water meter, however the homeowner is responsible for the safe keeping of the water meter.

Poorly Insulated areas around the home cause the most issues of frozen pipes.  Even the best kept home can have frozen pipes in the winter.  It does not take much, a slight breeze or poor insulation during the coldest time of the year will freeze pipes.  The City does not thaw frozen plumbing.

Areas to check BEFORE winter temperatures set in!

House Crawl Space:  This area of the home generally does not have a heat source and is poorly insulated, it also has open venting that allows air to pass through.  This area of the home needs to be protected from the cold.  Your homes water service comes through this non insulated area.  The service pipe can freeze in this area of the home during the cold temperatures of winter.   You may need to cover venting for the winter, protect plumbing with wrap or other, and see that the area under the home is not below freezing.

Poor Insulation:  During the extreme cold, plumbing next to cold walls may freeze.  You will need to protect plumbing that runs along cold walls from becoming too cold.  Proper insulation will help.

Inside of Cupboards:  Homes without basements may have the service line and water meter in a cupboard within the home.  The inside of cupboards can reach freezing temperatures in the extreme cold of winter, causing pipes and meters to freeze.  Leave cupboards open to allow heat to get inside the cupboards.

Utility Rooms:  Homes without basements may have a utility room, this room may have much of the home’s plumbing running through it.  Service lines, water meters, & hot water tanks may be in the utility room.  Many of these rooms are not properly insulated and may cause freezing of home’s plumbing within the utility room.

House Gaps:  Gaps in siding, foundation mortar, or missing foundation blocks can be let cold breezes into an area where plumbing will freeze.

Outside Faucets:  Remove garden hoses and cover faucets to keep them from conducting cold along the plumbing going into the home.

Attached Garages:  Can be a source of cold drafts in the cold winter.  Keep garage doors closed and protect plumbing within the garage from drafts that can cause freezing.

Leaving for the Winter:  Follow all the tips above.  You may want to contact a professional to properly winterize your home while you are away.  You may also contact the city to have the water shut off to your home while you are away.  Call the city for an appointment.

Once you have frozen pipes, the prevention listed above will no longer solve the problem.  You may need to call a professional that specializes in “Frozen Plumbing”.  Some methods, if not performed properly could be dangerous, you may need to leave it to a professional.

The City does not thaw frozen plumbing.

For the future, your local hardware store will sell many products to help insulate plumbing and keep it from freezing in the cold winter months.