Water mains and water meters can freeze when the temperature remains below 25 degrees for extended periods of time. That can pose a threat to water service, as can temperatures that dip in and out of freezing, which causes the ground to buckle and sometimes bends and breaks water lines.
Here are a few tips to help protect your water lines during periods of cold weather:
- Insulate pipes located in unheated parts of your house.
- Let a thin stream of cold water run from a basement faucet. The stream should be a continuous flow, about the thickness of pencil lead. This water can be caught in a bucket and used later as laundry or dish water.
- If a pipe should freeze, gently warm it with hot air from a blow dryer at the point where it enters the house.
- Know the location of the water shutoff valve in your home. Check it periodically to ensure that it works properly.
- Be sure to shut off water to outside faucets.
- Periodically monitor your sump pump. A frozen drain pipe could result in a flooded basement.
- Keep bottled water on hand. Figure on needing a gallon of water per person per day.
The Department of Public Works maintains outdoor water lines up to and including the meter. For water emergencies call 311. Water lines running from the meter to the house, as well as internal plumbing, are the responsibility of the property owner. Check with your homeowner’s insurance carrier to see if your interior pipes are covered in the event they freeze and rupture.