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Preventing Freeze Damage in Your District

Winter is here and so is the potential for damage due to freezing temperatures. Several years ago, many of our member districts experienced great losses to frozen or bursting pipes. Special consideration should be given to sites that may be closed and heating turned off during the holidays. Consider the following tips in preparing your sites:

  • If you have pipes that are exposed to cold air, interior and exterior, make sure they are fitted with proper insulation.
  • Cracks or holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes should be sealed with caulking to keep cold air away from vulnerable pipes.
  • Let your faucet drip during cold periods to relieve excessive pressure when the pipes begin to freeze. When both hot and cold lines serve the same spigot, make sure both lines are dripping since both are subject to freezing.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
  • Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame.
  • Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water because you could be electrocuted.
  • Monitor and maintain building temperatures at a minimum of 40 degrees during freeze conditions.
  • Winterize sprinkler systems according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Blowing out excess water with a compressor may be the best way to prevent frozen and broken pipes.
  • If you have a swamp cooler, disconnect the water source and clear the line.
  • Know how to turn off the water supply if a pipe bursts. Quick action can minimize damage.