Seasonal Tips for Your Plumbing
Winter Water Tips
There are several measures that
can be taken to prevent winter water disasters.
- It is a good idea to locate and mark your
main-line valve and check it for proper operation. This valve
controls water flowing into your home and is usually found near
where the water line that comes into your house. Marking the valve
will allow you to quickly turn off the water if a pipe should
burst or you have other water problems. You can download and
print a tag to mark the valve
or call 703-289-6019, TTY 711 to request a tag. Note: If you are having trouble printing the valve tag,
you might need to update your Adobe Reader. If you are still having trouble, call 703-289-6019, TTY 711.
- Make sure the water line to outside faucets is
turned off and the line is drained. Drain each outdoor spigot
after turning off the valve to prevent any remaining water from
freezing and bursting the pipes. Some spigots have anti-siphon
devices that must be opened to properly drain the line.
- Eliminate drafts. Check around the home for
areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas and
take measures to prevent the flow of cold air in these areas.
Look under the house, in the basement, crawl space, attic,
garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and
cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated. A hot water
supply line can freeze just as a cold water supply line can
freeze if water is not running through the pipe, and the water
temperature becomes cold. Insulation supplies are available at
your local home improvement or hardware store.
- If your water pipes do freeze, never try to thaw
a pipe with an open flame or torch. Always be careful of the
potential for electric shock in and around standing water.
- If you will be away from your home, keep the thermostat
at a reasonable temperature to make sure all areas with water
pipes are kept above freezing.
- Insulate pipes in unheated spaces. Hardware or building supply stores carry insulation
designed to keep pipes in these areas from freezing.
What if I lose the heat source
in my home?
If you are staying in your home, or will be monitoring your home
frequently, allow a faucet to drip cold water slowly. At a minimum,
the dripping faucet should be the one that is the greatest distance
from your main water cutoff valve. Also, consider allowing a slow
drip in areas that are least protected from the cold, such as
basements, crawl spaces, attics, the garage.
If your water pipes do freeze, never try to thaw a pipe with an open
flame or torch. Always be careful of the potential for electric
shock in and around standing water.
What do I do if my water
If you suspect you have a frozen water meter, call
us for help. Do not attempt to thaw the water meter yourself as this
can result in extensive damage. Our service crews are available 24
hours a day and will respond as soon as possible to your request.
You can reach our Customer Service Department at 703-698-5800, TTY
711 during normal business hours. After normal business hours, the
emergency number is 703-698-5613, TTY 711.
To learn more about your plumbing, visit our Customer Service Department
section for the page Your Plumbing.