Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

City offers tips for preventing frozen pipes

December 29, 2017


As a three-day arctic blast that was expected to bring wind chills in the minus 20s commences, the City of Lawrence offers the following tips to avoid the costly damage that frozen household pipes can cause.

  • Run cold water in a fast drip or steady stream about the size of a pencil lead through a household faucet.
  • Expose pipes to warm air by opening cabinet doors under kitchen or bathroom sinks. Specifically if they are on an outside wall.
  • Eliminate drafts and cold air into basements or crawlspaces.
  • Protect exposed pipes in unheated areas with insulation or heating tape.

If residents suspect their water meter or service line is frozen, they can call the city's Utilities Department at 832-7800, and a field representative will respond to thaw the frozen meter or assess the situation. Do not attempt to open the meter pit or thaw the meter.

If residents have frozen pipes, they should shut off water at the master valve, turn off the water heater and ice maker, and call a licensed plumber.

Additional information is available on the city's website.


Michael Kort 5 months, 3 weeks ago

If you see frost on a neighborhood fire hydrant barrel it is a good guess that the hydrant barrel is frozen full of iced over water because its' automatic barrel drais are plugged up and holding water in the barrel that would otherwise drain away underground which has frozen...... and it needs attention from your local water utility company because water won't come out to fight fires when fire hydrant barrel them .

Spiders have a natural instinct for building their webs where outside air flows into a basement ( potentially freezing your plumbing ) because bugs come in from those openings to your look for their webs that are blowing from air infiltration into your exposed basement areas ........a little spider displacement and this or that " air leaking in repairs " can save your plumbing from freezing and stop you from paying to heat the great outdoors .

Something that people forget about is their frost free outdoor faucets with the hoses connected with a hand sprayer at the end of the outside hose......always disconnect the hoses to enable the faucet to drain down or you might get a nasty surprize the first time that you operate that valve in the water leaking into your basement or inside walls from a valve barrel that froze and broke in the last winter because it was full of undrained water .

Some older outside faucets are not frost free and need to be shut off inside at their stop and waste valves and then opened outside and also at the stop and waste valve " drain cap " inside to drain the water out of them to keep them from freezing . Ask your plumber if this is confusing and i mention this only for first time home owners who may be unaware of what they own in outside faucet types, if the home is of older age stock before frost free became standardized .

In either case, leaving a hose full of water connected outside is looking for for outside faucet trouble that can flood inside the home and freezing can damage your hose as well which will easily drain by disconnecting it and then lifting it up while walking end to end with any sprayer removed .

Be careful what you wish for when dealing with frozen water pipes because if they are broken and they thaw out on you, the water is going to go everywhere and you won't like that !.....and this news article says it well about what to do if your pipes freeze .

Good for LJW staff report for covering this because this is out of sight and out of mind for most folks and it involves a learning curve that can be very $ expensive when things go south for the unaware .

Michael Kort 5 months, 3 weeks ago

i suppose that it is possible to get the insulation envelope of a house too absolutely tight if you work at it and you also have a gas furnace, stove and water heater, any clothes dryer, that have to breath from inside home air and that requires some air flow into the home thru leaks here and there, to burn the natural gas that gets forced thru the heat exchangers and up the flue pipe to wherever ?

When you look for major air leaks you are looking for sizable leaks that basically blow straight onto pipes freezing them, etc.. or that really drop the temperature of a basement allot .

Small air leaks can actually serve a function .

Happiness Just Is !

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