Winter is Here! Prevent Against Frozen Pipes

Homeowners should be alert to freezing pipes any time the temperature dips to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit and lower. Here are some tips to help avoid damage from frozen pipes:

Prepare Before Cold Weather Arrives

  • Insulate water pipes that are vulnerable to the cold or that have caused previous problems. Insulate pipes located near exterior walls or in unheated basements. Pipes near windows can also quickly freeze. 
  • Know where your water shut-off valve is located and test it regularly to save precious time if you have a broken pipe. In most single-family homes, the shut-off valve is in the basement or crawl space, on the wall facing the street. 
  • Turn off outdoor faucets and disconnect hoses. Fully drain the faucet and the outside portion of the pipes. A valve inside many houses will shut off the water's flow. Open and close outside tapes to release any water in the pipe. 

Steps to Take During a Deep Freeze (Below Zero Temperatures)

  • Leave cabinet doors that lead to exposed pipes open so that household air can warm them. 
  • Keep garage doors shut. Sometimes plumbing is routed through unheated space, leaving it vulnerable to the cold. 
  • Let water run from a faucet farthest from water's entrance to the house. A very slow drip will keep water moving, reducing the chance of freezing pipes. 
  • Keep your thermostat set above 65 degrees when leaving your house or business for several days. 

If a Pipe Has Already Frozen

  • Don't wait for nature to take its course. Safely thaw the pipe as soon as possible or call a plumber for help. 
  • If you do thaw pipes yourself, shut off the water or test the shut-off valve to avoid water suddenly gushing from the pipe when it thaws. Slowly apply heat, starting near the faucet end of the pipe, with the faucet open, and work toward the coldest section. Remember, slower is better. A hair dryer is appropriate for the job; a blow torch is NOT. To avoid electrocution, don't use electrical appliances while standing in water. 

If you are experiencing low water pressure or no water service to your home and suspect that it may be due to a City-owned pipe freezing, please call Customer Service at (913) 971-9311 between 8 a.m.. to 5 p.m.. Monday through Friday or (913) 971-5151 for the after hours service.