Fall is coming to a close and winter will soon be here. As the season change sets in, so will the need to winterize the pipe system of your home to make sure your water pipes do not burst during cold weather.
The City of Morganton Water Resources Department would like to remind its customers to conduct a thorough check of their homes to protect water lines and guard against the possible inconvenience of loss of service due to frozen lines. As always, if a customer has a water problem, they can call the City of Morganton Water Resources at 828-438-5276 and City staff will work to resolve the issue.
Below you can find a checklist of things to do to winterize your pipe system before cold weather sets in.
Before Freezing Weather Sets In:
Wrap exposed pipes: Cover any exposed pipes with insulating material. If you do not have commercial insulating material use plastic, newspaper, rags or blankets.
Block air passages into crawl spaces: Check crawl spaces to be sure pipes are protected. Use cardboard or rags to block air passages.
Secure basements against the cold: Plug up drafty cracks and repair broken window panes.
Check outside faucets: Remove hoses from outside faucets and check the washers to be sure there are no leaks which could freeze and back up into the household plumbing.
Locate your shut-off valve: Make sure every member of the household knows where your main water shutoff valve is located. The shutoff valve should be used in the event of a burst pipe or if you have a significant leak. The shutoff valve is usually located where the water pipe enters your house or on a vertical pipe leading from the point of entry inside your basement wall or crawl space. In some homes, it can be found in the utility room. If you do not have a main shutoff valve, you should install one for your protection.
During Freezing Weather:
Keep meter box lids closed: Do not open your meter box, as injuries can result from lids which are not properly secured. Also, cold air can freeze the meter. It you notice a meter box lid which is not properly secured, please call the City immediately.
Make sure heat reaches your pipes: If your pipes are enclosed in a cabinet under the bathroom or kitchen sink, leave the doors open so heat can get in.
Keep a trickle of water running: During periods of low usage and particularly on below-freezing nights, keep a trickle of water running from the faucet highest in the home. This trickle should be a steady stream the size of the lead in a pencil.
If You Have A Frozen Pipe:
If you do not know the location of the problem, call the City of Morganton Water Resources Department at 828-438-5276. We will check to see if you have water available at the meter. If the water is frozen at the water meter, we will correct the problem. If not, the problem is in your household plumbing and it is your responsibility to correct it.
Wait for the pipes to thaw: If you have some running water, the safest and cheapest thing to do is wait for the frozen pipes to thaw.
Never use an open flame: Never try to thaw a pipe with a flame, because you may start a fire.
Call a plumber: If all else fails, call a plumber and get professional assistance.
These suggestions will help you prevent freezing pipe damage:
- Pipes in attics and crawl spaces should be protected with insulation or heat. Pipe insulation is available in fiberglass or foam sleeves. Home centers and hardware stores have sleeves providing 1/8 to 5/8 inches of insulation; specialty dealers have products that provide up to 2 inches of insulation
- Heating cables and tapes are effective in freeze protection. Select a heating cable with the UL label and a built-in thermostat that turns the heat on when needed (without a thermostat, the cable has to be plugged in each time and might be forgotten). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely.
- Doors on cabinets under kitchen and bathroom sinks should be left open during cold spells to allow the warmer air of the room to circulate around the pipes.
- Exterior pipes should be drained or enclosed in 2-inch fiberglass insulation sleeves.
- Pipes leading to the exterior should be shut off and drained at the start of the winter. If these exterior faucets do not have a shut-off valve inside the house, have one installed by a plumber.
- Hoses should be removed and stored inside during the winter.
- Let faucets drip slowly to keep water flowing through pipes that are vulnerable to freezing. Ice might still form in the pipes, but an open faucet allows water to escape before the pressure builds to where a pipe can burst. If the dripping stops, it may mean that ice is blocking the pipe; keep the faucet open, since the pipe still needs pressure relief.