When the temperature drops below 32 degrees F, water in your pipes can freeze and burst. To safeguard your pipes against bursting during periods of frigid temperatures, use these simple precautions to protect your pipes.
Preparing Your Home for Cold Weather
You can wrap exposed pipes in insulating material to keep them from freezing. If you cannot insulate the pipes, direct your efforts to protect the pipes that are located near windows, exterior walls, or in an unheated area. Open cabinets that conceal the pipes. This will allow warm air from the room to circulate around the pipes.
If your garage is not heated or insulated, cracking the garage door allows heat from the house to reach vulnerable pipes and any plumbing equipment in the garage. Be sure to set the thermostat no lower than 60 degrees, especially if you are going to be gone a couple of days. For slab foundations, keep the garage door closed. If you have had problems with frozen pipes in the past, try running a small steady stream of water from a cold water faucet during extremely cold temperatures. If your pipes freeze, the ice will thaw as daytime temperatures rise, but keep in mind the following: If you’re going to be at home, open a faucet, wait until water begins flowing again, and listen for leaks.
Water expands when it freezes, this can cause leaks in your pipes. If you discover a leak, turn off the water supply to your home at the main shut-off valve and contact a plumber. If you’re planning to leave your home, turn off your water supply at the main shut-off valve.
Prevention & Recovery Quick Tips
How To Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing
- Disconnect all outside garden hoses.
- Install an insulating cover over all outside faucets.
- Wrap pipes near external walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or heating tape.
- Close all windows near water pipes.
- If you can’t close the air vents in your crawl space, cover them.
- If you have a basement, heat it.
- Install weather sealing, caulk, or tape to your windows.
- Insulate outside walls and unheated areas of your home.
- If you are going to be away from your home for an extended period of time, shut off the water supply valve to your washing machine.
When Monitoring Freezing Pipe Conditions
- The first sign of a frozen pipe is reduced water flow from a faucet. Allow a faucet to drip slightly (lukewarm water) to minimize freezing.
- Check your faucets for water flow and pressure before you go to sleep and again when you wake up.
- Identify and insulate cold air drafts to prevent cold air from a flue, chimney, or exterior door from coming in.
What To Do If A Pipe Freezes
- If a faucet or pipe inside your house freezes, you can thaw it using a hairdryer. (For safety purposes, avoid using a hairdryer around standing water.)
- To thaw a frozen pipe, heat water on the stove, soak towels in the hot water and wrap them around cold sections of the pipe.
- When thawing a pipe, start thawing it nearest to the faucet.
- Make sure the faucet is turned on so that the melted water can drip.
In Case Of An Emergency
Citizens are our best line of defense to quickly repair main line pipe breaks and other serious water and sewer maintenance repairs needed at your residence, business, or seen throughout the City. If you see water flowing or spraying from the street or in a yard, contact the MWRD Emergency Line at 615-893-1223. If you believe your meter is frozen or you're experiencing a burst pipe(s) within your structure, call 615-893-1223 BEFORE calling a plumber. MWRD will turn off the water valve or unfreeze the meter. For broken pipes, contact a plumber to repair the pipe(s).
Should you experience a leak that causes your bill to be substantially higher than normal, contact our Customer Service office at 615-848-3209. We may be able to help you obtain an adjustment to the sewer portion of your bill. The MWRD Leak Adjustment Policy and form can also be found at the MWRD Customer Service Online portal, here. To stay on top of possible leaks in your home or business, feel free to sign up for AMI Customer Portal which allows you to monitor water consumption and receive continuous usage alerts.
If your sewer is stopped, please call 615-893-1223. MWRD will come out and identify the problem. If the issue is on the City's side, there will be no charge to clear the line. However, MWRD cannot clear blockages within the customer's plumbing.