With temperatures forecast to take a dive this weekend, the City of Iowa City advises residents to take precautions to keep household pipes from freezing. When water pipes freeze and break, significant damage can occur to homes and household items. The City's Water Division cautions residents to:

• Never set your thermostat below 55 degrees. This applies to single-family homes as well as apartments.

• Do not shut off heat to areas of your home or apartment that contain any plumbing or water fixtures. Keep doors to bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry facilities open. Open doors to cabinets that contain pipes, especially those located on the north side of the house, to expose the plumbing to warmer air inside the house.

• Repair any cracks or holes around doors or windows to keep cold winter winds from blowing in and freezing water pipes and meters.

• If your home has unheated areas, wrap pipes with heat tape, following manufacturer's instructions, or cover them thoroughly with pipe insulation.

• If your plumbing does freeze, try to thaw it naturally by turning up the thermostat in your home and opening doors and cupboards to circulate warm air. You should not apply direct heat to your pipes, but if necessary, a hair dryer or another source of indirect heat could be used to help thaw frozen pipes.

• If you plan to be away for an extended period of time, arrange for someone to check your house or apartment. Educate your family, other people in your household, and housesitters on what to do if water pipes do freeze. Show them where your water shut-off valve is located. Most home meters are located in the basement, and the shut-off valve can generally be found between the wall and the meter.

• If an emergency should occur and your pipes or meter freeze and/or break, contact the lowa City Water Division for assistance at their 24-hour emergency number: 319-356-5166.


Date of publication

Friday, January 08, 2016