Winter Weather Preparedness Tips
Water District 10 will post any necessary updates on our website: waterdistrict10.org
Here are a list of things you can do to prepare for winter weather:
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Prepare for Freezing Weather:
LOCATE YOUR WATER SHUTOFF
Make sure everyone in your residence knows where the homeowner’s water main shutoff valve is located and keep it clear of debris and obstacles at all times. For most homes in our service area, the property owner’s shutoff valve is on your side of the water meter located usually 12-18 in from the meter in your own smaller valve box, no special tool is needed to operate this valve. If you are not sure if you have an inside shutoff valve, check the property inspection report from when you purchased your residence. For renters, please consult with your property manager.
KEEP OUT COLD AIR
Tightly close doors and windows to the outside. Make repairs to broken or drafty windows, doors, and walls. Seal all leaks in crawl spaces and basements. Winterize unheated spaces and close garage doors for the duration of the freeze.
EXPOSED PIPES AND WATER HEATERS
Insulate pipes in unheated and drafty areas, such as an attic or garage. Also check manufacturer recommendations for your tanked and tankless water heaters. Hardware and plumbing supply stores carry insulation to help keep pipes from freezing.
Turn off outside faucets. Remove all connected hoses and wrap faucets with towels or a Styrofoam insulator. Turn off and drain automatic sprinkler systems.
PREPARE BEFORE LEAVING TOWN
If you plan to be away during a time when freezing temperatures are possible, turn off your water at the meter and set your thermostat to 65 degrees or higher.
During Freezing Weather (1-2 days):
PROTECT INDOOR FAUCETS
Open cabinets beneath kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow warmer air to circulate around pipes. Be sure to remove any toxic substances located in these cabinets if there are children or pets living in the residence.
DRIP ONLY IF NEEDED
After the measures above are taken, drip one cold-water faucet slowly if you feel your pipes may still freeze. The faucet you choose should be the one that is the greatest distance from your main shutoff valve. It does not need to be a running trickle. If you do drip your faucet, capture the water for future use.
For an Extended Freeze (more than 2 days):
Travis County Water District 10 will monitor conditions that impact our water infrastructure throughout the freeze. Follow instructions from Travis County Water District 10 for the best guidance on protecting your pipes and the District’s water system infrastructure. Important updates can be found at waterdistrict10.org.
Thawing Pipes After a Freeze
After a period of freezing weather, if you turn on a faucet and discover only a trickle of water coming out, or no water at all, it is possible you have a frozen pipe or water meter.
Take the following steps:
TEST ALL FAUCETS TO SEE WHICH ARE FROZEN
If you find that none of your faucets are working, then the frozen pipe is located near the main water pipe entering the residence. If none of the faucets on the same floor are working, then the frozen pipe is located between the different floors. If none of the faucets in the same room are working, then the frozen pipe is located between the main water pipe and where the water enters the room.
FIND THE FROZEN PART OF THE PIPE
After you figure out which pipe is frozen, trace along the affected pipe to look for signs of freezing like bulges, frost, or ice. If there are no visible signs, pay attention to the pipe’s temperature and find where the pipe feels the coldest.
THAW THE PIPE SLOWLY
Even the faintest trickle of water will help thaw a frozen pipe. If any of your faucets can run any water at all, turn them on. Completely open the cold-water faucet closest to the frozen pipe to relieve pressure and reduce the chance of breakage. If the frozen pipe is only in one area, you may be able to thaw the pipe by opening cabinets and allowing warmer air to circulate around the pipes. Use warm water to soak towels, then wrap the towels around the frozen pipes. You can use a hair dryer or a portable heater to thaw a pipe, but DO NOT use electrical appliances if there is standing water. NEVER thaw a pipe using an open flame.
If these steps do not work, contact a licensed plumber or your property manager for assistance.