BE WINTER READY
When cold weather arrives, the Columbia Valley Water District encourages our customers to make preparations during the winter season to prevent water leaks and ice hazards. If you are unsure how to winterize your home or building, consult with a professional or winterizing specialist.
WHY PIPE FREEZING IS A PROBLEM
Water has a unique property in that it expands when it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever in containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the “strength” of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Also, pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are subject to freezing.
PREPARING FOR WINTER, TAKE PREVENTIVE ACTION
Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and the night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst. Insulate outside faucets, above ground pipes and hose bibs to prevent against leaks caused by freezing. Use rags covered in plastic, fiberglass, or preformed foam. Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing. Pipes can be relocated by a professional if the home is remodeled. Add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas. If you are going away during the winter, leave the heat on in your home no lower than 55 degrees F and open kitchen and bathroom cabinets so warm air from the room circulates around pipes. Designate a person to check your house regularly; show them where the main water shut-off valve is located.
DURING COLD WEATHER AVOID FROZEN PIPES
Turn on a faucet to let water dribble in the plumbing where pipes run through cold spaces since running water doesn’t freeze as quickly as still water. By temporarily running water through the faucet, you may incur a higher water bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst. In case of an emergency, know the location of your water supply shut-off valve.
IF YOUR PIPES FREEZE
If your pipes break due to freezing, contact the Columbia Valley Water District at (360)599-1699 to have your water shut off for repairs. The District cannot “unfreeze” or repair customer pipes that are broken. Contact a professional to make needed repairs and insure that all leaks are accounted for.