Freezing weather can take its toll on you and your home. The Township of Sparta Water Utility reminds you to make a thorough check of your home to protect water lines against the possible expense and inconvenience of loss of service due to frozen water lines.
Before freezing weather sets in:
Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses: Detaching the hose allows water to drain from the pipe. Otherwise, a single hard, overnight freeze can burst either the faucet or the pipe it's connected to.
Insulate pipes in unheated areas: Wrap water pipes in areas such as crawl spaces, basements and garages with insulated material. Pipes located on outside walls and near crawl space openings and vents are most vulnerable to freezing. You can use clean, dry rags or blankets in place of commercial insulating material.
Seal off access doors, air vents and cracks: Plug up drafty cracks and repair broken basement windows. Winter winds whistling through overlooked openings can quickly freeze exposed water pipes. Be sure not to plug up air vents that your furnace or hot water heater may need for good combustion.
Place a tag on the main shut-off valve: Be sure all members of your household know where the valve is located. Be prepared to turn the valve off should a water line burst. You may also want to consider closing your shut-off valve if you will be leaving the property unattended for a long period (i.e. if your property is a vacation home), or providing a key for a neighbor to check the heat and running water while you're away.
During freezing weather:
Do not keep crawl space, basement or garage doors open during cold periods. The cold air could freeze exposed pipes. Pipes should be properly insulated to prevent freezing. If you are unable to insulate your pipes that have frozen in past winters - particularly on sub-zero nights or periods of low usage - you may want to keep a trickle of water running from any faucet that will cause water to flow through the problem section of the pipe. During extremely cold periods, this trickle should be a steady stream the size of a pencil. Be sure to keep the drain clear of obstructions to prevent the basin from overflowing. While you will be billed for the water used, this procedure is using a minimal amount of water and may prevent more costly plumbing repairs and water loss caused by broken pipes.
Watch for reduced water flow, particularly in one faucet or one section of your home during cold weather. This may indicate a pipe beginning to freeze. If this happens, please see above.
The Township of Sparta Water Utility strives to ensure a safe, reliable water supply to your home. A Customer Service Representative is available to answer your questions and provide as much help as we can if you experience frozen water line problems. However, care and custody of the pipes from the curb, up to and inside the home are your responsibility. If water is unavailable in only a portion of your home, or if your neighbors are not experiencing a problem, the obstruction may be in a section of pipe that is your responsibility. You may want to contact your plumber.