Public Works Director
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Graffiti, potholes, damage to streets, city buildings, or sidewalks can all be reported here Please note the exact nature and location of the problem with an address and/or cross street the better you describe where the problem is; the faster we can act on the information!
For utility maintenance problems, such as low water pressure, no water, frozen pipes at the main, water main breaks, manhole cover problems, sewer backup, and drainage problems, contact Utility Maintenance. For either maintenance problems such as frozen pipes in the house or from the house to the main line, or for no hot water, please contact a private plumber.
Freezing weather may bring discomforts but one of them, frozen water pipes, can be avoided with a little planning and a few simple steps. When frigid arctic air hits, water freezes, and as it freezes, it expands—causing pipes to burst and possible flooding to occur.
Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, such as outdoor hose bibs, water sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas such as basements, crawl spaces and mobile homes that are not winterized.
The most important thing everyone needs to know is where the water shut-off valve is in the house and how to use it in case pipes freeze and break.
To determine where a water shut-off valve is, locate the outside water line that leads to the residence. The water line usually flows directly from the water meter to a location inside the residence. Likely places for the water turn-off valve include internal pipes running against exterior walls or where water service enters a home through the foundation.
Before the onset of cold weather take steps to prevent freezing of water supply lines
Drain water from water sprinkler supply lines following manufacture’s or installer’s directions. Do not put antifreeze in line. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife and landscaping. Cross contamination can occur.
Remove, drain and carefully store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose taps to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining is the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
Check around your home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, under mobile home skirting and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated. A hot water supply line can freeze just as a cold water supply line can freeze if water is not running through the pipe, and the water temperature becomes cold.
Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar material on exposed water pipes. Many products are available at a building supplies retailer. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for installing and using these products.
To maintain higher temperatures, add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing. For example, if the home is being remodeled, a professional can relocate pipes.
Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children.
When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe, even at a trickle, helps prevent frozen pipes.
During extreme cold, keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night.
If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat set to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees F.
If there is no flooding but you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, make sure your main water valve is turned on. If it is, suspect a frozen pipe. Locate the suspected frozen area of the water pipe.
Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt more ice in the pipe.
Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or other open flame device. Make sure a heating pad, hair dryer or other electrical devices do no come into contact with water.
Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.
If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible or if you cannot thaw the pip, call a licensed plumber.
Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may also freeze.
For more information about frozen pipes, contact a licensed plumber or building professional.
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