Be prepared for freezing pipes in extreme cold

As the holidays approach and extreme cold temperatures are in the forecast, the Northwestern Water and Sewer District has offered helpful tips to protect plumbing inside your home.

Homeowners are responsible for the water and sewer lines on their property and inside the house. The district is responsible for lines that start past the property boundary.

Here are some key steps to take before freezing weather hits:

• Turn off the water to outside faucets, remove hoses and drain the pipes

• From the inside, cover any open vents with insulation, plastic or cardboard

• On colder nights, it’s a good idea to open cabinet doors to expose pipes to your home’s warmth

• The temperature where water meters and interior pipes are located must be a minimum of 55 degrees

• On very cold nights, let your kitchen or bathroom faucets drip slowly to keep water moving

If a pipe in the home freezes:

• Shut off the water immediately. Don’t attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints.

• Completely open the cold and/or hot water faucet closest to the frozen pipe. This will relieve pressure and reduce the chance of breakage.

• Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to a pipe. You can use a hair dryer, space heater or hot water. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended.

• Do not use kerosene heaters or open flames to thaw pipes inside your home.

• Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.

• If in doubt, call a registered plumber for help

If you will be gone for a relatively short period of time, ask a reliable neighbor to check your property daily.

Be prepared and store water. The rule of thumb is to store one-to-two gallons per person, per day, to last at least three days. Remember to store water for your pets.

The district’s main office will be closed on Friday beginning at 11:30 a.m. in observance of Christmas Eve and will be closed Monday. While the office will be closed, staff will have additional staff on call for emergencies. For after-hours water or sewer emergencies, contact your county sheriff’s department to dispatch a team member.