PUD Offers Tips for Protecting Water Pipes in Cold Weather

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Donít let this yearís winter weather catch you unprepared. Snohomish County Public Utility District reminds its water utility customers to take steps to prevent of frozen pipes.

BEFORE Freezing Weather

  • Never leave a garden hose attached to the faucet in freezing weather. Disconnect and drain hoses.
  • Winterize irrigation systems.
  • Insulate backflow devices and outside faucets with newspaper, rags or other insulating material. Cover them with plastic and secure with string or wire.
  • Cover foundation vents with foam blocks or cardboard.
  • Insulate hot and cold pipes in unheated areas, such as the garage, crawl space or attic.
  • Locate your main shutoff valve to your home and make sure you show household members how to turn off water to the house in case of an emergency.

DURING Freezing Weather:

  • Temporarily, keep a steady drip of cold water running at an inside faucet. This keeps water moving, making it less likely to freeze.
  • Open cupboard doors under sinks, especially where plumbing is in an outside wall, to allow interior heat to warm the pipes.
  • If you plan to be away from home for several days, shutting off the water can reduce the chances of broken pipes. Set your home heat to at least 55 degrees. Shut off water to the house and open all faucets to drain pipes; flush the toilet once to drain the tank, but not the bowl. If you drain your pipes, be sure to turn off your water heater first.

IF Your Pipes Freeze:

  • Determine which pipe(s) are frozen. If some faucets work but others donít, that means you have a pipe or pipes inside your home that are frozen.
  • If a pipe is frozen, assume it may be broken and will leak when thawed. Local home improvement stores may carry leak repair supplies. Be ready to shut off your water in a hurry when the line thaws.
  • If there is no water to your home, the problem may be where the water line enters your home or at the meter. Call PUD Customer Service to ensure that water is flowing from your meter correctly. PUD crews are not able to help fix frozen pipes between the water meter and the house or inside the house.
  • Thawing Frozen Pipes Ė Frozen pipes may be thawed by wrapping them with rags and repeatedly pouring hot water over the rags. Once the pipes are thawed, remove the rags and rewrap the pipes with dry insulation material to prevent refreezing. Never use an open flame or electrical device to thaw frozen pipes. Using these methods can cause a fire or electric shock.
  • If you cannot restore the water to your home, call a licensed plumber.

For more information on how you can prevent frozen water pipes, please call PUD Water Resources at 425-397-3000 during business hours (7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

(Image: Frozen Pipe, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from sterlic’s photostream)

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