Prevent frozen pipes
§ Locate the main water shut-off valve
If possible, all commercial customers should turn off/drain fire sprinkler systems to help prevent damages from busted water pipes. Please conduct an in-house fire watch and maintain a fire watch log at 30 minute intervals.
If you need help shutting off your fire sprinkler system, call Utility Services during regular business hours at 469-272-2931 or after hours at 972-780-6643. For other questions, call the Fire Marshal's office at 972-291-5100 ext. 2316.
§ Insulate exposed pipes or faucets
Wrapping exposed pipes or pipes that run through outside walls, attics, unheated garages or crawl spaces can help prevent freezing. Wrap insulating material over the entire length of exposed pipe. Insulated foam pipe sleeves can also be used. Cover all valves, joints, etc. with insulating tape or fiberglass insulation. Make sure your outdoor sprinklers are shut off and wrap your outdoor spigots or install an insulated cover to help keep the outside faucet from freezing. You can find the supplies you need at a local hardware store.
§ Eliminate drafts
Close off crawl space vents and foundation openings. Repair broken or cracked windows. Make sure doors and windows close tightly. Many of the weather-proofing techniques that help to reduce your heating bill will also help to reduce the possibility that your pipes will freeze in cold weather. For example, caulk or insulate around door frames, windows and around pipes where they enter the house to reduce incoming cold.
§ Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses
This will allow the pipe that feeds the outdoor spigot to drain and can help to prevent a hard freeze from bursting the outdoor faucet or the pipe leading to it. Drain and coil the hose, then store it away for warmer weather to prevent damaging the hose.
§ Drain in-ground sprinkling systems
Check the manufacturer's instructions or call your installer for information on the best way to do this.
§ Open doors below sinks
Opening the cabinet doors, especially if the sink is located against an exterior wall, will allow warm air to reach the pipes.
§ Let the water run temporarily
Leave a small trickle of water running, especially if you have pipes located in an exterior wall or under a slab, from each faucet – don't forget the bathtub and shower. This will keep water moving through the pipes and will keep the pipes from freezing. A trickle of water about the size of a pencil lead is sufficient.
If a pipe freezes despite your precautions:
§ Thaw the pipe
If you know where the freeze-up is located and the pipe is exposed, you may be able to thaw the pipe with a hair dryer set on a low setting. Wave the stream of warm air back and forth along the pipe until water will flow through the pipe. Never use a torch or open flame to thaw a pipe. If the frozen pipe is not exposed, shut off the main water valve and set up a portable heater where the pipes enter the house. It may take some time, but eventually all the pipes in the house will warm up. If you are using this method, do not leave the space heater unattended.
§ If a pipe leaks or breaks
Once a pipe has frozen, there is a very good chance that it will break or leak. The first thing to do is shut off the water at the master shut-off valve as quickly as possible to prevent flooding and water damage. Unless you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer, you may need to call a plumber to repair the break or leak. Should your pipes break, shut off the water and then turn off the heating source to your water heater. Again, you may need to contact a licensed plumber.