Check your pipes before and after the freeze - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Check your pipes before and after the freeze

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

With sub-freezing temperatures headed in to the Tennessee Valley, Tennessee American Water reminds customers on ways to prevent water damage from frozen and burst pipes as well as frozen meters.

Property owners are responsible for maintenance of the water service line from the meter to the house, as well as any in-home pipes. 

Tennessee American's customer service number is 1-866-736-6420.

Before cold weather sets in:

  • Know how to shut off your water.  Locate your main water shut-off valve.  You may want to tag or label it so you do not have to search for it in an emergency.  This is important to know in a non-emergency situation as well, like making a repair on a small leak on a toilet or sink.
  • Check sprinkler or irrigation systems.  Make sure you have turned everything off and fully drained the system.
  • Identify your home’s freezing points.  Check your home for pipes in areas that might be prone to freezing, such as crawl spaces, unheated rooms, basements, garages, and exterior walls.
  • Strengthen your defenses.  Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by closing off crawl spaces, fixing drafty windows, insulating walls and attics, and plugging drafts around doors.
  • Protect your pipes.  Where pipes are exposed to cold, wrap them with insulation or electrical pipe heater (even fabric or newspaper can help).

When temperatures stay below freezing:

  • Prevent pipes from freezing.   Allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing.  Consider collecting the water for later use.  Also, the cost of a short-term trickle is much less costly than a repair of a burst pipe.
  • Keep your pipes warm.  Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.

If your pipes do freeze:

  • Shut off the water immediately.   Don’t attempt to thaw pipes without first turning off the main shut-off valve.
  • Thaw pipes with warm air.  You can melt the frozen water in the pipe by warming air around it with a hair dryer or space heater.  Be sure not to leave the space heater unattended and avoid the use of kerosene or open flames.
  • Be careful turning water back on.  Once pipes are thawed, slowly turn the water back on and double check for any additional cracks and leaks.

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