Avoid Cold Weather Damage to Household Plumbing

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The South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority offers tips on how to protect home water pipes from freezing in cold weather.

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When weather forecasts call for extreme cold, customers may wish to take special measures to ensure that their household pipes don’t freeze.

With the extreme cold weather in Connecticut the past few days, the Regional Water Authority reminds customers to protect home plumbing from freezing and bursting. When weather forecasts call for extreme cold, customers may wish to take special measures to ensure that their household pipes don’t freeze.

Homeowners can protect their plumbing from freezing or bursting.

1. Don’t turn the heat down too low in the basement.

2. Fill holes in doors, windows and walls near meters and pipes. Ensure that the crawl spaces are sealed tight.

3. Be sure that heat can circulate around the water meter and pipes. Water meter and pipes in or on outside walls, in an uninsulated cabinet or in an enclosed area can freeze if heat does not circulate through the area. This is especially true when wind-chill factors drop below zero.

4. Check insulation for dampness. Wet insulation is worse than no insulation at all.

5. Be sure meter vault covers are not cracked. If the meter is located outside the home, then the meter is installed inside a covered vault. Please check to be sure that the vault cover is not cracked and is secure. Otherwise the meter may freeze.

If pipes do freeze, the Authority suggests the following for plumbing emergencies.

If water is leaking from a burst pipe, use the valve where the water enters the home to shut off the water. Shut those valves leading to the leaking pipes and re-open the main valve. The homeowner can either repair the burst pipe or call a plumber. Regional Water Authority crews do not repair burst pipes inside buildings.

If water does not come out of the faucet, start with the faucet that does not have water, and work backwards until reaching the one that has water. The frozen pipes are probably between the last faucet, which had water, and the first one, which does not. If a customer has no water throughout their entire house, they should call the Authority’s Customer Service Department at 203-562-4020, and Water Authority crews will determine if the meter is frozen.

Leave the faucets that do not have water open. Try to thaw the pipes by first turning up the air temperature and increasing air circulation around frozen pipes. Never apply heat directly to a frozen pipe. If using a hair drier, do not overheat the drier.

The Water Authority is a regional organization that supplies water and related services to some 430,000 consumers in 15 south central communities. It owns over 27,000 acres of watershed land and provides a wide array of recreational and educational opportunities.

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