Tips to keep your pipes frozen-free - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Tips to keep your pipes frozen-free


Madison (WKOW)-- The colder weather will eventually arrive so it's not too early to think about how to protect your water pipes.

When outdoor temperatures are below zero for more than three days at a time, water pipes and meters that are exposed to cold air can freeze and break. 

*All exposed pipes should be properly insulated.

(Unfinished garages, basements, mud rooms, laundry rooms, and under the kitchen sink. Use insulating tape or molded pipe sleeve and wrap it over the entire length of exposed pipe.)

*Open cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathrooms.

(Water lines supplying the kitchen or bathrooms are frequently located in outside walls. Any air leaks in siding or insulation can cause these pipes to freeze in frigid weather. Leaving the cupboard doors open when the temperature is below freezing allows pipes behind the cupboards to get more heat.)

*Let the water run if the temperature dips below zero.

(A stream slightly smaller than a pencil lead should be sufficient.)

*Prepare your home for the possibility of water damage while you're away.

(Keep the house heated, open under sink cabinets to allow warm air to reach the pipes, and allow your faucets to drip. If you'll be gone for a long time, consider calling the Water Utility to shut off the water, and possibly have your water system completely drained by a professional plumber.)

*Be cautious if your pipes do freeze.

(If some but not all of your water fixtures are working, chances are you have a pipe inside your house that has frozen, but water is still coming in from the street. This becomes the property owner’s responsibility. You can try thawing the pipe with a hair dryer or call a plumber. Don’t try using any kind of open flame to thaw the pipe.)

If you have lost water to all your faucets, call the Water Utility at 266-4665. According to state rules, the utility will thaw a frozen pipe only once; for any future thaws, the owner will be responsible for hiring a contractor at the owner’s expense.

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