Monday, December 9, 2013

Freezing temperatures can lead to frozen water pipes!

As the recent cold snap comes to an end  many homeowners and businesses will be dealing with yet another hazard - broken water pipes. As the water in pipes freezes it expands - causing the pipes to crack or burst. You won’t often know there is a problem until the temperatures warm enough to melt the ice and allow for water to flow. If you are experiencing the unfortunate dilemma of frozen or busted water pipes, here are a few things you need to know.


  • Most importantly, know where and how to shut off your main water supply before you have a problem. There should be a main valve for your house (usually located in the basement or crawl space) and one at the water meter pit. 
  • The pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, such as outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas such as basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
  • Make sure pipes located in exterior walls, or in floors over unheated spaces (such as a bathroom above an attached garage) are insulated and protected. Keep your garage door closed.
  • Remember to never use an open flame torch (fire danger) or boiling water (will cause the pipes to burst) when thawing pipes. A hair drier on low setting works well.
  • Select a licensed plumber to assist you in making any necessary repairs.
  • If you are a Tacoma Water customer, and you have a water leak emergency, call the trouble line at (253) 502-8384. 
  • Make sure that any exterior piping is insulated and hose bib’s are covered.
  • Increase the building temperature to prevent freezing (particularly warehouses – storage facilities).
  • Fire Sprinkler systems that go out of service require you to institute a Fire Watch until the system is operable.