Cold weather is on its way, are your pipes ready? Take a few minutes to watch the video below for a quick review of various winterization strategies for your home:
Recommendations based on lessons learned from Winter Storm Uri
- Dripping Faucets - while this technique may be effective at keeping water moving through your pipes, it is not recommended. During extreme weather, it’s especially important to conserve water. If a winter storm is severe enough, there may be interruptions in power that reduce water production. Not only does dripping your faucet put a massive strain on the water system, it also costs you more money. As an alternative we recommend periodically running faucets individually for short bursts, just enough to keep the water in the pipes from sitting too long. Make sure you run both the hot and cold taps. You get the same effect as dripping the faucet, but you pay for less water and impact the water system less.
- Water lines in attics tend to freeze first - If it’s below freezing outside and you’re not getting any water at the faucet, the first place to check is the attic. Any exposed pipes in your attic should be insulated to prevent this.
- Know where your meter is and how to cut it off - If a pipe bursts in your home you will want to get the water shut off quickly. In extreme weather it may take our staff some time to get to you, whether from icy roads, high call volume, or both. We recommend that you locate your cutoff valve now before any freezing weather sets in.
- Outdoor Faucets - faucets on outdoor walls should be insulated and weather-proofed. This can be as simple as a towel with a grocery sack taped around it, or you can purchase insulated covers. Either way the goal is to hold the heat from your home against the faucet and keep the freezing wind out. Stand-alone faucets on risers should be insulated all the way to the ground or de-watered.
- Meter Pits - We recommend that you locate your water meter and ensure that it has a cover. As added peace of mind, consider stuffing an old blanket or towel around the meter before putting the lid on. If there is no lid or it needs replacement please let us know.
- Exposed or Shallow Piping - many rural properties have long service lines. Everything on your side of the meter is your responsibility. We recommend that you know where your service line runs and identify any areas of low topography or washouts which may leave your pipe vulnerable to freezing.
- Sprinkler Systems - We recommend that all sprinkler systems be turned off and de-watered for the season. If the lines are left full during freezing weather they can burst underground, and you might not know about it until the next summer. The summer after Winter Storm Uri we had a number of customers who experienced this – they tend to break underground where the spray heads screw in so they didn’t notice until they got their water bills and discovered they had used twice as much water as usual. Consult your sprinkler system’s documentation for instructions on turning off and draining your lines. If you plan to leave your system online, remember to insulate any above-ground components such as backflow preventers and valves.