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Frozen water pipes are not life threatening. However, frozen or broken water pipes do cause damage to homes each winter. If pipes in the walls are not properly insulated, they can freeze and rupture (an eighth-of-an-inch crack in a pipe can release up to 250 gallons of water per day; soaking floors, rugs and furniture). In order to prevent the mess and aggravation frozen pipes cause, one can practice the following steps:
Before Cold Weather
• Locate and insulate pipes that are most susceptible to freezing. These pipes are typically near outer walls, crawl spaces or attics.
• Wrap pipes with heat tape (UL approved).
• Seal any leaks that allow cold air inside where pipes are located.
• Disconnect garden hoses as well as shutting off and draining the water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
When It’s Cold
• Let hot and cold water trickle at night from a faucet on an outside wall.
• Open cabinet doors to allow more heat to reach un-insulated pipes under a sink or appliance near an outer wall.
• Make sure heat is left on and set no lower than 55 degrees.
• Make sure you and your family knows how to shut off the water in case pipes burst. Stopping the flow of water can minimize the damage to your home. Call a plumber and contact your insurance agent.
• Never try to thaw a pipe with an open flame torch.
• Always be careful of the potential for electric shock in and around standing water.
If you cannot determine the cause of loss of water pressure during freezing conditions, call the CBPU’s Water Department at (517) 279-4805 between 8am – 4pm (M-F). The water service may be frozen underground at the street during prolonged periods of cold weather, especially if there is little snow cover. In this case, give the CBPU Water Department a call and a crew will come investigate.