When cold spells set in this winter, that spells potential trouble for your water pipes. During the height of a cold snap last winter, Fairfax Water reported hundreds of frozen meters.
Here are some steps you can take to avoid frozen pipes when colder weather fills the air this winter:
- Always know where your main water shut off valve is located.
- If you haven’t already, make sure the water line to outside faucets is turned off and the line is drained. Drain each outdoor spigot after turning off the valve to prevent any remaining water from freezing and bursting the pipes. Some spigots have anti-siphon devices that must be opened to properly drain the line.
- If your water pipes do freeze, never try to thaw a pipe with an open flame or torch. Always be careful of the potential for electric shock in and around standing water.
- If you will be away from your home, keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature to make sure all areas with water pipes are kept above freezing.
- Eliminate drafts. Check around the home for areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas and take measures to prevent the flow of cold air in these areas. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated. Insulation supplies are available at your local home improvement or hardware store. Want to find those drafts? Then borrow a thermal camera from a library!
- Whenever temperatures drop into the teens, it’s suggested you leave a thin, steady stream of water running. This stream should measure out to be about a quarter gallon of water per minute.
If you have questions or need assistance, contact Fairfax Water at 703-698-5800 during normal business hours or after-hours/emergency number 703-698-5613.
Watch this video for more tips from Fairfax Water: