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Temperatures are plummeting—protect your pipes

December 28, 2017

This week, temperatures in the District are expected to fall into the single digits. The cold has already caused frozen or broken pipes inside DC homes. There are steps you can take to help prevent the pipes in your home from freezing or breaking.  

Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to the outside, such as outdoor hose outlets, water sprinkler lines. The other more likely pipes to freeze are those in unheated interior areas such as kitchen cabinets, attics, garages, basements and crawl spaces.

Before it gets any colder, you may want to follow these recommendations:

  • Remove, drain, and store garden hoses.
  • Close the inside valves that control the water supply to outside hose attachments (hose bibs).
  • Open the outside hose bibs to allow any water in the line to drain out. Keep this valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • You may want to install a pipe sleeve for water pipes that are not insulated. Building supply stores carry these and other supplies for insulating pipes.
  • If you go away for an extended time during cold weather, leave the thermostat set above 55 degrees before you leave.
  • In severely cold weather, allow cold water to slowly drip from faucets served by exposed pipes. The cold water is still above freezing and will help prevent the pipe from freezing.

If your pipes freeze, it is important to thaw them to prevent them from breaking. For more information, please visit: dcwater.com/cold-weather-pipes

For emergency service inside your home, contact a licensed plumber. Call the DC Water 24-hour emergency line at (202) 612-3400 for water emergencies on public property.