Before freezing weather:
- Advise all household members where the main water shutoff valve is located in case of emergency.
- Make sure hoses are disconnected from outside faucets.
- Make sure water pipes in unheated parts of your home, including crawl spaces, are insulated.
- Seal all openings in the basement around the foundation, windows, and doors.
- Pipes in your basement that are close to windows should be insulated.
- Drain all underground irrigation systems.
During freezing weather:
- If a water pipe freezes, NEVER thaw it with an open flame. You may start a fire! Use hot air from a hair dryer, the exhaust from a vacuum cleaner, heat lamps, heat tape, or electric heaters.
- Make sure you heat all rooms of your house that have plumbing fixtures. Water pipes in unheated rooms are subject to freezing and could cause extensive damage.
- If your sinks are on an outside wall, you can leave the cabinet doors open to allow the heat from the room to enter.
- A light bulb can be used to thaw pipes slowly, by placing it next to pipes that are frozen (Be sue to keep the bulb away from combustible material.)
- Keep meter box lids closed during winter months to prevent cold air from freezing the meter. (Don’t remove snow if you don’t have to. It helps insulate the meter.)
- If you have experienced problems in the past during freezing periods and you have exhausted all other solutions, you can leave a trickle of water running from the faucet highest in the house. This trickle should be a steady stream slightly larger than the lead of a pencil.
If you need additional advice, call your local water department.