As winter begins, so does the risk of frozen water pipes. Frozen water pipes can be more than an inconvenience. Since water is not compressible, and increases in volume as it freezes, it can lead to a burst, broken, or cracked pipe. Not only will this lead to a potentially costly waste of water, but it could also cause water damage inside your home.

A few simple steps can help you avoid frozen pipes:

  • Disconnect and drain outside hoses, make sure hose bibs are turned completely off, and insulate the hose bibs.
  • If your water pipes run through a crawlspace or unheated basement, or if they have exposed sections outside the house, make sure they are insulated. Insulate both hot and cold water pipes. Note that insulating hot water pipes can save money since the water in the pipes stays hot longer.
  • Leave your thermostat no lower than 55 F, and if very cold weather is predicted, leave cabinets and vanity doors open so the heat can get to the pipes.
  • In extremely cold weather, consider letting your faucet drip. Moving water is harder to freeze. Allowing a little water waste for a short time can prevent a major pipe breakage.
  • Note that sewer lines can also freeze and cause sewage to back up. Make sure to protect both water and sewer pipes.

If you do have frozen pipes, thaw them carefully. Use a hair dryer or heat tape. Do not use a torch to thaw frozen pipes. For more information, call Public Works at 541-766-6916.

Last updated: 9/20/2012 12:19:25 PM