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Warning: Protect Water Pipes From Freeze

Contact: Liz Owens, Water Utilities |

Water Utilities officials are seeking media assistance to urge customers to take precautions to avoid the risk of frozen pipes. Officials are being overwhelmed with calls regarding frozen and burst water pipes as the city endures record low temperatures. Temperatures are forecast to remain below freezing. Low temperatures and wind chill readings create the risk of damaged, frozen or ruptured water lines, serving mobile homes and manufactured housing with above ground or otherwise exposed water lines. Although those buildings are most vulnerable, all residents are urged to take precautions. Following are steps for property owners.

  • Remember that outside hose connections are especially vulnerable; close any openings, vents, or windows into crawlspaces or basements.
  • Insulate any exposed piping using commercially available pipe insulation or several wrappings of newspaper. Plumbing companies also offer heat tape for plumbing.
  • If you leave water running to prevent pipe freezing, limit the stream of water to no larger than 1/8 of an inch, about the size of a pencil lead.
  • Locate the master water valve, usually located just inside the building foundation where pipes enter a crawl space or basement. The master valve can be turned off if your pipes break to prevent water damage.
  • If your pipes burst and you are unable to locate or shut off the master water valve, call the Water Utilities Emergency Line at 262-6000. Water Utilities crews will shut off the water at the meter at your request. However, in emergency conditions, it may take several hours for crews to get the water shut off.
  • Never thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame. This can cause a fire or damage the pipe connections and fittings.
  • If you lose water service, call the Water Utilities Emergency Line at 262-6000 for assistance in locating the source of the problem. Be prepared to be patient, as call volume can reach 500 daily during periods of extremely cold weather.
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