Prepare Pipes for Freezing Temperatures
The time to prepare for freezing temperatures is when the weather is still warm. There are several things customers can do to protect their water pipes from freezing and possibly bursting. The following tips can help.
- Make sure all pipes outside the house are insulated. Wrap exposed faucets, pipes and vacuum breakers, including those outside the house or in unheated crawl spaces, attics, garages and other areas.
- Check to be sure outside faucet washers are secure.
- Disconnect hoses from outside faucets and use insulated faucet covers to keep them from freezing.
- If you have a pool, besides keeping the pump running, make sure all the valves are open as well.
- Keep the lid on the meter box so your meter won’t freeze.
- Make sure everyone in the household knows where the main water shut-off valve is, in case a pipe breaks and it is necessary to turn the water off in a hurry. Check this valve now to make sure it is working.
- If you must leave your house vacant for a long period, turn off your water supply at the gate valve on the resident’s side of the meter box and have a plumber do the necessary work to prepare pipes to prevent damage.
- During prolonged freezes, you may want to open all cabinet doors that contain water pipes to allow heat to enter them. You may want to place a lamp in the cabinets so the bulb can keep the area warm, but be certain no flammable materials are near it. Relocate any toxic materials so children and pets cannot get to them if cabinet doors are left open.
- Keep extra water drawn up during freezing weather in case a main break or frozen pipe cuts off your water supply.
If a resident has no water and thinks it may be because of a frozen pipe, follow the steps listed below.
- Check your private plumbing, as it is probably frozen at the point where the pipe goes under the house or through an attic, if not insulated. Check there first.
- If a pipe is frozen, it is safest to call a plumber to handle the problem. The pipe may be cracked and will burst when thawed. If an electrical appliance is used to heat the pipe, spraying water from a burst pipe could get onto it, creating the risk of electrocution.
If you suspect a water main is broken, report the location immediately to the Water Department at 281.391.4820 or after hours at 281-391-4848 so it can be repaired as soon as possible. Signs of a broken water main are water running down the street and buckled pavement.
- Keep warm, stay inside if possible.
- Dress in layers and wear hats, gloves and an appropriate coat.
- Avoid overexertion, as cold weather puts added strain on your body.
- Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
- Keep heat sources at least 3 feet away from furniture and drapes.
- Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
Protect yourself from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by installing a battery-operated CO detector and never using generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices indoors.
- Bring pets inside, and move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas.
- Keep adequate food and water available.
- cover plants with a frost cloth (don’t cover plants with plastic)
- move potted plants to a spot where they’re protected from the north wind
- watering plants keeps the roots from getting frost damage