At any time, unpredictable weather can sneak up on you and wreak havoc on unprepared water pipes. Icy winds and dipping temperature can do a lot of damage to your home by freezing pipes and leaving you without flowing water. There are many precautions you can take now to help minimize potential impacts.
Before Freezing Weather
* Disconnect and drain hoses from outside faucets.
* Turn off and drain irrigation systems and backflow devices.
* Wrap backflow devices with insulating material. Wrap exposed pipes and outside faucets with insulation or newspaper covered with plastic.
* Cover foundation vents with foam blocks, thickly folded newspaper or cardboard.
* Insulate hot and cold pipes in unheated areas, such as the garage, crawl space or attic.
* Locate and exercise your customer service shut off valve, sometimes this valve is located near or in the meter box or next to the house.
* Show household members how to turn off water to the house in case of emergencies.
* If your home will be unoccupied for an extended period of time, you may want to seek additional information about winterizing your home.
During Freezing Weather
* Open cupboard doors under sinks, especially where plumbing is in outside walls, to let interior heat warm the pipes.
* Temporarily, keep a steady drip of cold water at an inside faucet farthest from the meter. This keeps water moving, making it less likely to freeze.
* If you are away for any length of time, shutting off the water can reduce the chances of broken pipes. Leave the heat on at least 55 degrees. Shut off water to the house and open all faucets to drain pipes; flush the toilet once to drain the tank, but not the bowl. Call the City of Toledo at (541) 336-2247 to turn off water at the meter if a private shut off does not exist.
* Be a good neighbor. If a neighbor is away or you are next to a vacant house, notify the City of Toledo if you see a suspected leak.
* Check on the elderly and make sure they’re OK.
If Your Pipes Freeze
* Try and determine which pipe(s) are frozen. If some faucets work but others don’t, that means pipes inside your home are frozen.
* If a pipe is frozen, assume it may be broken and will leak when thawed. Local hardware or home improvement stores may carry leak repair supplies. Be ready to shut off your water in a hurry when the line thaws.
* If there is no water at all to your home, the problem may be at the street. To report water outages after hours please contact Toledo Dispatch non emergency line at 541-336-5555. Others, your local public works office.
* NEVER thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame. You may start a fire and at the very least, your pipe will burst. Use hot air from a hair dryer or the exhaust from a vacuum cleaner.
* If your pipes are frozen, contact the City of Toledo PW Department so we can ensure that water is flowing from your meter correctly. However, our crews are not able to help fix frozen pipes between the water meter and the house and inside the house.
If A Pipe Breaks
Determine if it’s hot or cold water:
* If it’s hot water: Turn off the water to your water heater. Cold water should still be available to the rest of your house.
* If it’s cold water: Turn off the main water shutoff valve. Water will not be available to the rest of your house.
* Call a plumber to assist you with repairs and contact the City of Toledo PW Department if you are unable to turn your water off.
Adam Denlinger, PW Director
City Of Toledo
PO Box 220
Toledo OR. 97391