Preventing Frozen Pipes

By: Karin Woodside Last Updated: January 9, 2014

Frozen-PipeValuable (and I mean that literally) information from Todd Taylor at the La Porte City Water Department:

Frigid temperatures can cause one of winter’s worst woes—frozen water pipes. But property owners can take some simple precautions to prevent the inconvenience and expense of frozen water pipes. These include:

1. Disconnecting hoses.
2. Insulating outside pipes and faucets.
3. Insulating inside pipes and faucets in cold areas such as unheated attics, basements, garages and crawl spaces.
4. Draining irrigation systems.
5. Caulking around incoming pipes.
6. Closing or blocking foundation vents. (Remember to open them again in the spring to prevent dry rot.)
7. Locating your master water shut-off valve and testing it. If a pipe does break, damage can be minimized if you stop the flow of water quickly.
8. If you are planning to leave your home or business for an extended period and you don’t drain your pipes, you should lower the thermostat but never shut it off. The lack of heat can freeze the pipes in walls and the basement. If you do drain your pipes, be sure to turn off your water heater first.
9. Opening cupboard doors under sinks on outside walls so pipes are exposed to inside heat.

If, despite these precautions, your pipes do freeze, it is best to call a licensed plumber. If you locate the frozen section of pipe and try to thaw it yourself, be sure to take the following precautions to protect yourself and your property:

1. Do not use an open flame. You risk setting your property on fire, and overheating one area can cause the pipe to burst.
2. Place a warm towel or rag around the pipe.
3. Make sure you know the location of your master shut-off valve. The frozen pipe may already be broken and, when the water is thawed, it will leak. In this case you will need to shut off the water in your home or business until the leaky pipe is fixed.

We have had several instances of frozen pipes in the last few days and all would have been prevented if the above precautions had been followed. If you have an emergency we can be reached at 326-9540. An operator is on duty 24 hours per day, but we cannot thaw your frozen pipes for you or make repairs to frozen pipes.