Frozen Pipes

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Frozen outdoor faucetDid you know that freezing water in your plumbing can exert over 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch? When a pipe bursts it can cause a lot of damage. Luckily, reducing your risk is easy and inexpensive.

When frigid temperatures are expected, the best thing that you can do to prevent your pipes from freezing is to be proactive and take a few preventative actions before it gets too cold.

  • Cover all exterior house vents.
  • Unhook and drain all exterior hoses including supply lines to pools, hot tubs, etc.
  • Wrap or cover all outside hose bibs/pipes. You can purchase covers at most home supply stores.
  • Insulate your water heater (and connections) if it's in an unheated space.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by pipes that are susceptible to freezing. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing because the temperature of the water running through them is above freezing.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.


Pipes Already Frozen?

If you have little or no water flow from your faucets it is likely that you have frozen pipes. Follow the steps below to safely thaw your pipes and prevent additional damage.

  1. Call us at 360.753.8333 to have your water shut off BEFORE your pipes thaw. Do not attempt to turn off your water meter yourself. You can damage the meter and will be responsible for any damages and needed repairs. 
  2. Check your exposed pipes for leaks, cracks or other damage.
  3. If you find damaged pipes or leaks have them repaired by a licensed plumber.
  4. After your water is turned off, thaw your pipes by opening under sink cabinets and warming frozen areas of pipe with a hair dryer, heating pad or warm towels. Areas likely to be frozen include pipes running against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
    *IMPORTANT* Never use a blowtorch or other open flame device to thaw your pipes. It is a serious fire hazard.
  5. Call us when pipes are repaired to have your water turned back on. We will also verify that you no longer have any leaks.


Questions?

Contact Public Works Dispatch at 360.753.8333 or publicworks@ci.olympia.wa.us