As cold weather sets in know:
- Know what areas of your home, such as basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms, and outside walls, are most vulnerable to freezing.
- Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by fixing windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and eliminating drafts near doors.
- Know where your main water shut-off valve is located. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
- Protect your pipes and water meter. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or an electrical pipe heater; newspaper or fabric may work also work. Keep the lid closed tightly on your meter and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation, so don't disturb it.
When temperatures fall below zero:
- Allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is low compared to the cost to repair a broken pipe.
- Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.
If you pipes freeze:
- Shut off the water immediately. Don't attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints.
- Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to a pipe. You can use a hair dryer, space heater, or hot water. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended, and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
- Once the pipes are thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.