The last thing a property owner wants to experience is the sloshing of water as entering the property. Frozen pipes happen when proper precautions are not taken. That is why it is important to take proactive steps to protect your property - before it happens. An improperly winterized swamp cooler, exposed pipes and even leaving a property vacant with the heater off can cause pipes to freeze and break. To prevent broken pipes from spoiling your winter fun, take these precautions to help prevent this from happening to you.
First and foremost, know where your customer shut-off valve is located, so that you can quickly shut-off your water if an emergency does occur. Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or you require a professional to help, the following steps are worth the time and money.
• Caulk around pipes where they enter the house.
• Turn off the water to swamp coolers and drain the line.
• Insulate exposed irrigation system lines.
• If you have a shut-off valve for outside lines, shut it off and drain for the winter.
• Wrap outside faucets with insulation if they aren’t drained.
• Insulate pipes in unheated areas in crawl spaces, the attic or the basement. Use insulating tape or molded pipe sleeves. Fire sprinkler lines are especially vulnerable during a freeze.
• Leave your furnace on a low setting while you’re gone or shut off the water at the customer service valve and leave a faucet on to allow for expansion of water in the lines. If you do turn the water off to the entire property while you are gone, be sure to turn off the power or gas to your water heater to avoid damage to the heating element.
IF YOUR PIPES FREEZE —
• Never use an open flame or electrical device to thaw lines. Instead, microwave a towel and wrap the pipe or let the sun thaw it. Watch the lines for leaks as they are thawing.
• If you have no water, call Hi-Desert Water District at 760.365.8333 (24 hours/7 days a week).
IF YOUR PIPES BREAK —
Shut-off your water at the meter using the customer service valve (the valve closest to the house). If you cannot shut-off your water call the Hi-Desert Water District’s 24-hour emergency number at 760.365.8333.