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Frozen Pipe Tips

Helpful seasonal hints from your friends at Plymouth Village Water and Sewer District

With the winter season fast approaching, it is time once again to begin to prepare your home for the cold weather. Unfortunately, every year many homeowners face the hassles and expenses associated with frozen or broken water lines.  There are several measures that can be taken in an effort to prevent these winter water disasters:

Disconnect, drain, and store garden hoses that are used outdoors.  You may also want to turn off the valve to water lines for the outside faucets and drain the lines as well if possible.  Be sure to drain each of your outdoor spigots after turning off the valve in an effort to prevent any remaining water from freezing.  Some spigots have anti-siphon devices that need to be opened to properly drain the line.  For those customers with deduct meters, don’t forget to bring them inside to prevent them from freezing as well.

Consider insulating pipes or faucets as well as installing heat tape or heat cable in unheated areas.  This will help prevent frozen and burst pipes.  These materials can be purchased at any local hardware store or building supply company.

Eliminate drafts by sealing off access doors, windows, and any other cracks or areas where water lines are exposed to cold air or weather.  This includes in the house, garage, basement, crawl space, attic, or under cabinets.  Opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors on especially cold nights allows warm air to circulate near the pipes.

Know where the main shut off valve for your home (usually at the water meter) is located before disaster strikes is extremely important.  Also, be sure everyone in the household knows where the shut off valve is located in case of emergency.  Posting the number for PVWSD (536-1733) and your plumber on the fridge or by the phone for easy access in an emergency is also a good idea.

If a faucet or pipe freezes:

If you turn on the faucet and nothing comes out, leave the faucet on and call a plumber.

If you think you know where the freeze occurred and would like to try to thaw it yourself, there are a couple of ways this can be done.  The easiest way is to use a hair dryer using a low heat setting waving it back and forth along the pipe.  Never heat only one spot on the pipe as this can cause the pipe to burst.  DO NOT use open flame to thaw a pipe under any circumstances as this too can cause the pipe to burst or start a fire.  Another method is to wrap the pipe with towels that have been soaked in hot water.  You will want to start as close to the faucet as possible and be sure that faucet is on so that the water can drip out as the ice melts.  And finally, a portable heater can also be put in the room to allow the pipes to thaw.

If a pipe breaks:

Turn the water off to your house using the main shut off valve inside the home (usually located at the water meter). If this valve does not work, please call us to shut off the water at the main line valve in the street.  Fees may apply.

Call a plumber.

If you will be traveling this winter:

Do not set your thermostat any lower than  55 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lowering the heat may save on the heat bill, but it may crate further issues if there is a cold spell.

Ask a friend or neighbor to check on your home daily.

If you will be gone for an extended period of time, it is always best to have your water turned off and your house winterized by a plumber.

If your water meter freezes:

If you think your water meter may be frozen, please call us for assistance.  Our crews are available 24 hours a day. Please do not attempt to thaw the meter yourself as this can result in extensive damage to the meter and an added expense for you.

Main Valves and Hydrants:

Main valves, also known as curb shut offs, can be seen often times in the street or in the grass in front of your home.  These are used to shut off the water coming from the main in the street through your service line in your yard and into your home.  If you know the location of this valve, please keep it clear of ice, snow, and debris as it may be necessary to use this shut off in the event of an emergency.  If it is located in the yard, placing a bucket over it will ease in its accessibility when there is snow on the ground.

Please be sure when removing snow from your property that the hydrants in the area are not covered or obstructed.  If you have a hydrant in your yard or neighborhood and are able to keep it cleared and shoveled it is greatly appreciated by PVWSD.  For those of you that already keep your hydrants clear, we thank you very much.

If an emergency occurs during our normal hours Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 7:00 AM - 3:30 PM, please contact our business office at (603) 536-1733. For after hours emergencies, please contact the Plymouth Police Department at (603) 536-1828 who will contact us.