Water company advises precautions to keep pipes from freezing on Thanksgiving

Meteorologists have forecast an arctic blast that may result in the coldest Thanksgiving on record, according to the Regional Water Authority (RWA).

The RWA is advising residents and businesses in Greater New Haven to protect their plumbing from the Thanksgiving chill.

“Frigid air and sub-freezing temperatures can cause water pipes in vulnerable areas of buildings to freeze and burst, resulting in costly damage and expensive repairs,” according to a company press release.

“Water utilities are responsible for water pipes and service lines that connect to your home at the curb, but not pipes located on your property,” the press release continues. “The most vulnerable areas include those outside of the home, and water supply lines in unheated areas like basements, attics and kitchen cabinets.”

The company suggests taking the following steps:

  • Wrap exposed pipes with insulating material. Newspaper can help in a pinch.

  • Eliminate cold air sources near water lines by repairing broken windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and getting rid of drafts near doors.

  • 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 up out of the reach of children.

  • If your home does not have indoor shut-off valves for your outdoor spigots, winterize them by purchasing insulation kits, also referred to as domes or caps.

  • 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 a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing. A bucket or other container can be kept under the dripping faucet to collect water for later use, such as watering plants, ensuring it does not go to waste.

  • Ensure water meter vault covers are not cracked. If the meter is installed outside the home, it is housed inside a covered vault. Check to be sure that the vault cover is secure and protecting the meter from freezing.

Thanksgiving is one of the most traveled holidays of the year. The RWA also advises anyone away from home this week to have a friend, relative or neighbor regularly check their property to ensure the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen.

“If water stops running in sinks or other faucets, it may be due to frozen pipes,” the RWA press release states. “Anyone concerned that their pipes have frozen should immediately stop water service using their home’s main water shut-off valve. Once homeowners turn their water off, they should contact a licensed plumber to thaw the frozen pipes, assess damage and make any necessary repairs. Never use hot water, a torch or any open flame to thaw a frozen pipe or water meter.”