Preventing Frozen Pipes

The winter months mean freezing outdoor temperatures which can cause water lines to freeze. Frozen pipes can burst and cause extensive water damage. An eighth-inch (three millimeters) crack in a pipe can emit up to 250 gallons (946 liters) of water a day.  By taking a few simple precautions, you can save yourself the mess, money, and aggravation frozen pipes cause.

Before the Cold Hits

  • Insulate - Insulate pipes in your home’s crawl spaces, garage, unfinished basement and attic. These exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing. Remember, the more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be.
  • Disconnect - Disconnect garden hoses and, insulate all outdoor faucets (hosebibs). This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.
  • Heat Tape - Heat tape or thermostatically-controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved only for the use intended (exterior or interior). Closely follow all manufacturers’ installation and operation instructions.

When the Temperature Drops

  • A Trickle - A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
  • Open - Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.

Before You Leave

  • Set - Make sure thermostats are set at temperatures warm enough to keep pipes from freezing unless the water pipes in the home have been drained and winterized.
  • Ask - Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it’s warm enough to prevent freezing
  • Shut Off - Shut off and drain the water system. Be aware that if you have a fire protection sprinkler system in your house, it will be deactivated when you shut off the water.

If Your Pipes Freeze

Don’t Take Chances

If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave a faucet turned on for water to drain, and so that you can see when the water starts to flow again.

You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with a hairdryer, heater, or heat tape. Apply heat for up to 45 minutes if there is still no water contact the Water Division at 801-446-HELP or after hours at 801-840-4000.

If your water pipes freeze and burst, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve in the house (usually in the basement); leave the water faucets turned on. (Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shut-off valve is and how to open and close it.)

Note: Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame. Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water because you could be electrocuted.

Disclaimer: These are recommendations only. Any damages, repairs, or subsequent water bills resulting from these recommendations will not be the responsibility of the City.