The winter chill is taking hold, and more arctic air is forecast to arrive this weekend. The City of Tallahassee urges citizens to take precautions ahead of this impending cold snap.
To avoid water pipes breaking due to frigid air, utility customers are advised to run at least one faucet in their home or business at a thin stream. This allows water to flow through the pipes and lowers the risk of broken water lines during freezing conditions.
Unlike other liquids, water expands when it freezes. When water pipes freeze, the expanding water can break the pipe, and customers can be left with a thoroughly soaked house when the pipes thaw.
When freezing temperatures loom, citizens might see water trickling out of spigots in area parks and public spaces. This is part of the City’s cold-weather plan to prevent or minimize issues caused by the cold. Signs should be posted nearby when this occurs, but if you see water running lightly from a pipe when arctic air threatens, please do not turn it off. This is intentional.
During periods of colder weather, City Utilities, as well as local plumbing contractors, typically receive calls from customers reporting broken water pipes. When pipes break between the water meter and the home or within the home, the customer is responsible for repairs.
City Utilities repairs any damage to pipes between the water main under the street and the meter or in the main itself, which rarely happens since water runs continuously in the mains.
Tips for pipes
The City offers these additional tips when temperatures dip extremely low:
- Insulate pipes located outside or in the attic with cloth or a similar material to help prevent freezing.
- Make sure the cover to your water meter fits tightly. If your pipes do freeze, you can use the valve inside the meter box to shut off all the water to the house, helping to prevent indoor flooding when pipes thaw.
- Insulate your backflow assembly properly by wrapping or covering the pipe. Do not cover the bottom relief opening on the underside at the middle of the apparatus to avoid creating other flooding problems.
- Wrap commercial fire lines in buildings.
- Disconnect outside water hoses from spigots, as water trapped inside can freeze and crack the hose.
Practice fire safety
- Exercise caution when using supplemental heating units.
- Make sure all combustible materials, such as drapes or chairs, are at least three feet away from any heating unit.
- Avoid using flammable liquids to start fireplaces and do not leave a fireplace unattended. Once the fire is out, let the ashes cool in the fireplace for several days.
- Check your smoke alarm to make sure it is working properly.
Check on people, pets and plants
- Bring outside pets indoors during cold snaps, especially at night when temperatures dip to their lowest.
- Check on neighbors and family members who may be more susceptible to cold weather conditions, such as the elderly or disabled. If you are unable to reach them, TPD will conduct a welfare check for you. Simply call the Consolidated Dispatch Agency at 850-606-5800 to request the service.
- Bring potted plants inside and cover garden beds by placing stakes around your plants and using fabric (such as blankets, bed sheets, towels or drop cloths) to create a tent-like structure.
The City of Tallahassee wants to ensure all residents know what to do when the forecast calls for a hard freeze or other inclement weather conditions. Customers can call 850-891-4968 for utility service needs or report service issues via the City’s free DigiTally app.
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