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Keep water running to avoid frozen pipes

Keep water running to avoid frozen pipes


With freezing temperatures not expected to leave the area until the weekend, residents in the South are being advised to keep water running in their faucets in hopes of avoiding frozen water lines.

‘If you turn on your faucet and you don’t have water, then something is probably frozen,’ said Alma Clark, director of the Mountain Home, Arkansas, Water Department.

Homeowners should leave a small, steady stream of water coming from the faucet, not a steady drip.

‘The drip isn’t going to help you. You need more movement than that,’ she said. ‘You might use a little more water this month, but that’s better than a frozen pipe.’

Here’s what you can do.

Before freezing weather Freezing temperatures are here to stay for a few days, but residents can still apply these tips:

  • Wrap all exposed pipes outside or in unheated areas of the home. – Remove garden hoses from outside faucets. Insulate outside faucets with Styrofoam covers, rags or paper. – Cover vents around your home’s foundation. – Know where the cut-off valve is located and how to use it. Apply oil such as WD-40 to the cut-off valve before operating to prevent it from breaking. The valve typically is adjacent to the water meter box under a metal lid. 
  • In subfreezing weather – Drip outside faucets 24 hours a day (5 drops a minute). This is not necessary unless temperatures are expected to be 28 degrees or below for at least four hours. (Be sure to turn off the faucets after the threat of freezing weather.) – Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls. – In unheated garages, shut off water to washing machines. Water softeners should be drained and protected from freezing temperatures. – During sustained subfreezing weather events, let water run slowly from inside faucets. – Take extra precautions to protect pipes that have frozen in the past. 
  • Renters Renters and tenants may be responsible for personal property damage caused by broken water pipes during severe weather conditions. Residents should contact property managers or their landlords or maintenance personnel to locate the property owner’s water cutoff valve and find ways to avoid pipe breakage during a freeze.


Article by Scott Liles Baxter Bulletin USA TODAY NETWORK