GRANTS PASS – With freezing temperatures on the near horizon, the City of Grants Pass Water Department is reminding citizens to winterize their pipes and outside water spigots, as well as pools and ponds.
“Without precautions, your water pipes could freeze and burst, creating an expensive mess. Protection can never start too soon,” said Public Works Director Jason Canady.
Residents are encouraged to turn off the water supply to their outside irrigation, drain and disconnect garden hoses to store them for the season, and insulate any exposed pipes and spigots.
Residents with pools should drop the water level in the pool to relieve undue pressure on the structure of the pool. Chemicals can be added to prevent the growth of algae and other aquatic organisms. Debris should be removed, and the pool should be covered. Pumps should be turned off and covered if exposed. Keeping the pool pump running can help so water will not freeze in the pipes.
Some ornamental ponds and water features run all year long, but for those ponds that do not, residents are encouraged to contact their local supplier for advice to prevent damage.
Whether indoors or out, the water service line from the meter box to the structure, including all the plumbing within the customer’s property, is the responsibility of the property owner.
Avoiding Frozen Pipes
Here are some handy tips to avoid frozen pipes during sub-freezing temperatures.
Know the location of your customer valve. Knowing where and how to shut off the water can come in handy to limit the damage if a pipe inside your house does freeze and burst. If you do not have a customer shut-off valve and would like to have one installed, the City Water Distribution Division will assist by shutting off your water during normal working hours to enable you or your plumber to install the valve. Information: (541)450-6115.
Insulating water pipes in all accessible areas can alleviate many potential problems. Pipe insulation can be purchased from most hardware stores. Measure the insulation, cut it to length, and install it on the pipes, especially those which are located in un-insulated areas of your home or business.
Backflow prevention assemblies which are installed above the ground, such as reduced pressure assemblies and pressure reducing valves, should be properly protected. These are best protected with insulated boxes.
If any plumbing fixtures are located adjacent to an exterior wall and inside a cabinet (such as a kitchen or bathroom sink), open the cabinet doors to help keep the pipes from freezing.
Use caulk or insulation to seal cold-air leaks throughout your home or business.
Run a very thin stream of water from faucets and/or fixtures susceptible to freezing because water that is running will not readily freeze. Customers will be required to pay for the water used to prevent the pipes from freezing in this manner, however this cost is minimal.
Residents leaving for any period of time, should set their thermostats no lower than 55 degrees, and may want to turn the water off at the customer valve and drain all the water out of the pipes through an open faucet at the lowest point in their home. Forcing the water out of the pipes with air is a better alternative. Have a reliable and trustworthy friend or family member check your house while you are gone, to make sure there are no surprises waiting for you when you return.
Dealing With A Frozen Pipe
If you think you have a frozen pipe, warm up the suspected area by blowing air on the pipe from a hair dryer set on low heat. Wave the warm air back and forth along the frozen section. Do not concentrate on one area, because overheating a single spot can burst a pipe. Never use a torch with an open flame. You can also soak towels in hot water and wrap them around the pipes. Make sure you start thawing the area of the pipe nearest to the faucet and partially open the faucet so melting water can drip out.
If a pipe does burst, turn off the water supply immediately and call a plumber to make the necessary repairs. For problems or questions, call the Water Distribution Division of the Public Works Department: (541)450-6115, or call the Water Utility Customer Service Division of the Finance Department: (541)450-6035.