Tips to protect your pipes from freezing temperatures

MARSHALL, Tx. - Temperatures are forecast to drop into the teens and low twenties starting Sunday night and there are some things you need to do to protect your pipes.

The Marshall Public Service Department offers some tips to reduce the risk of freezing pipes and damage:

Preparing for cold weather

  • Check the lid on your water meter and make sure your meter lid is closed tightly, to reduce possibility of it freezing in extremely cold weather. Packing your meter box with old towels can add needed insulation, especially if you meter box lid is missing or loose.
  • We DO NOT encourage customers to turn off their own water shut-off valve because it can break. Please contact 903-935-4487 for emergency water shut-offs. This service is available 24 hours a day. However, be sure everyone in your home knows where the main water shut-off valve is located, so that you are able to turn off your water in an absolute emergency or flooding incident.
  • Cover all exposed outdoor faucets with insulated covers (available from hardware stores) or tightly wrap with old towels.
  • Check for pipes that pass through unheated spaces or rooms, such as crawlspaces, basements, garages, or uninsulated exterior walls. Protect exposed pipes by wrapping them with heat tape, pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation (available from local hardware stores).
  • Drain all outdoor garden hoses, roll them up, and store them inside to prevent cracking. 
  • Turn off and drain your irrigation system.
  • If you are going to be away a few days, leave your thermostat on heat to prevent freezing.

When temperatures consistently fall below freezing

  • For kitchen or other sinks up against cold, exterior walls, open cabinets to let the warm air in your home to reach the pipes.
  • Allow a small trickle of water to run from your faucets overnight to help keep pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is typically lower than the cost of repairing a broken pipe.
  • If your pipes do freeze, have the water shut off immediately. Don’t attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off, because freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints that will leak when thawed. 
  • DO NOT apply an open flame to frozen pipes; it’s best to expose the pipes to warmer air. 
  • Once the pipes have thawed, slowly turn the water back on and check for cracks and leaks. 

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