Protect Your Pipes This Winter

Now’s the time to protect your pipes… in just four easy steps:

  1. Disconnect and drain garden hoses.
  2. Insulate exterior pipes and faucets.
  3. Insulate interior pipes and faucets in cold areas (including unheated attics, basements, garages and crawl spaces).
  4. Locate your master water shut-off valve and test it prior to an emergency.

Additional Precautions:

  • If you have a yard sprinkler system, drain and blow out the system completely.
  • On extra cold nights, open the doors of closets or cabinets that are located near water pipes on your home’s exterior walls.
  • For maximum protection, apply caulk around incoming pipes, and close or block your home’s foundation vents during the coldest months (open them up once the threat of freezing has passed in order to prevent dry rot).

What To Do If Your Pipes Freeze:

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, the culprit is likely a frozen pipe. The safest way to handle this is to turn off your master water shut-off valve and call a licensed plumber. However if you’re more of a do-it-yourself person, try these steps:

  1. Locate the suspected frozen area of the water pipe. Likely places include pipes running against exterior walls, or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
  2. Turn on the faucet closest to the suspected frozen area. This will enable water to flow through the pipe (once the frozen area begins to melt), which will help melt more ice inside the pipe.
  3. Try to thaw the frozen section of pipe. The safest way to do this is SLOWLY: soak towels in hot water and wrap them around the pipe.

If you have not lost electrical power AND there is NO standing water / puddles anywhere near the area, you can use an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, or warm the pipe using an electric hair dryer.

DO NOT use electric devices such as heating pads or blow dryers in the presence of standing water.

DO NOT use an open flame such as a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, candle or cigarette lighter, as this can cause the water in the frozen pipe to boil and explode the pipe. Open flames also present a serious fire danger, as well as a severe risk of exposure to lethal carbon monoxide.

Remember, you can always call us here at Shoreline Water District… we have personnel on standby 24 hours a day at 206.362.8100.

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