Frozen water pipes can be a major problem. They can partially or fully restrict the water flow to your house or they can break, causing a major leak when they thaw. Winterizing your house, such as covering foundation vents and wrapping pipes in unheated areas of your house, can reduce the risk of your water pipes freezing.
But perhaps the weather forecast of temperatures in the teens has caught you off guard. Don’t worry. The most effective temporary method to prevent water pipes from freezing is to leave an interior cold water tap running in a small continuous stream. This keeps the water moving through your indoor plumbing, making it harder for the water to freeze. Another simple method is to open kitchen or bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around your plumbing, preventing pipes from freezing as quickly. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners or household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
Probably the most important thing to know is where to shut off the water to your house in an emergency. Typically, there is a shut-off valve inside your water meter box, which is usually in the sidewalk or park strip near the street.
If your pipes do freeze, do not use an open flame or arc welder to thaw your lines. You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with the warm air from a hair dryer; a slower but much safer alternative. When plumbing pipes are frozen, there is often water available at one faucet but not another. If this is the case, then the frozen line is within the house . If there is no water anywhere in the house, you should request the Public Works Department check your water meter to make sure that the water meter is not frozen. Call 541-766-6916.
If your pipes break, shut off the water to your house. If you are unable to find the shut-off valve, or have water leaking inside the house, call for assistance from the Public Works Department at 541-766-6916. They can help you shut off the water, but the repair of the broken water line on your property is your responsibility. Contact a plumber for assistance with this. The diagram to the right will help you locate the customer-side shut-off valve at your water meter.
If you do shut your water off, also remember to turn off your hot water heater to prevent burning out the elements.