The Newnan Times-Herald

Local

Keeping an eye on water pipes in cold weather


  • By Clay Neely
  • |
  • Jan. 11, 2017 - 1:51 AM

Since the freezing temperatures set in over the weekend, Newnan Utilities has been hard at work attempting to fix the issues many homeowners are having with frozen pipes.

In the last 48 hours, Newnan Utilities has responded to 11 service requests for homes with no water or leaking water, according to director of electric and utility operations Jeff Phillips.

“It’s a higher number than we would typically see,” he said, “But with these single-digit temperatures and windchill, this isn’t uncommon. Many homes have uninsulated pipes or a hose bib exposed to the elements.”

Typically, the response time for homes experiencing issues with frozen pipes is around 20 minutes or less, according to Phillips, and have crews on standby 24-7.

For those who are worried about freezing pipes, Phillips encourages homeowners to know where and how to shut off the meter box near the curb of their home with a meter key.

“Insulate your pipes, but if you don’t have the option, turn off the water at the curb and open your faucets to allow it to come through,” he said. “We’re always willing to come and help out.”

Many victims of leaks or frozen pipes may come up against expensive charges for the amount of water lost during the crisis.

However, the company has a discounted charge for residents who lost a substantial amount of water during a leak.

“When we determine the leak, we find out how much your average consumption is and charge accordingly,” he said. “The water charge for leaked water is at a discount rate and there is no sewer charge for water lost during a leak.”

Preventing Frozen Pipes

  • Drain water from swimming pool and sprinkler supply lines. Do not put antifreeze in these lines; it is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife and landscaping.

  • Remove, drain and store outdoor hoses. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside valve to allow water to drain and keep the outside water valve open.

  • Check around the home for areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas, such as the basement, attic, etc.

  • Consider installing products made to insulate pipes like a "pipe sleeve," " heat tape" or similar materials. Many products are available at your local building supply or hardware store.

Cold Weather Precautions

  • 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.

  • When the weather is very cold, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes.

  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both day and night.

Thawing Frozen Pipes

  • Apply heat to the frozen section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, a hair dryer or a portable space heater. Another option is wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use any open flame device.

  • Keep the faucet open as the pipe begins to thaw.

  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.

  • Check all other faucets in your home; if one pipe freezes, other may also freeze.

Courtesy of Newnan Utilities

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Clay Neely: clay@newnan.com, @clayneely