February 3, 2023

Keep Water Pipes from Freezing During Cold Weather

During winter weather, water pipes may need special care to keep them from freezing and bursting. With a little preparation, you can prevent burst pipes and avoid costly repairs during the winter months.

When freezing temperatures are predicted:

  • Since moving water will not freeze, allow a steady drip of cold water to flow from the highest faucet in your home. Using cold water will save you money on your energy bill.
  • Keep your thermostat at the same temperature both day and night, so that pipes stay warm as the outside temperature dips overnight.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to reach exposed pipes under sinks.
  • Disconnect any garden hoses and drain outdoor pipes. Turn the supply valve off and cover the exposed pipe(s) and faucet(s) with insulation.

If your pipes do freeze:

  • Turn your water off at the private water shut-off valve.
  • Never try to thaw frozen pipes with an open flame or any electrical appliance. It's dangerous and could damage your pipes.
  • Be prepared for possible leaks as the pipes thaw.

The location of the shut-off valve varies, but all buildings less than 25 years old have one. Likely locations for the private shut-off valve include:

  • Close to an outside hose bib, where the water supply pipe enters your home. The valve will be located inside a box or pipe in the ground, several feet from the exterior of your home.
  • Near your water heater or under a vanity cabinet or kitchen sink, particularly if you live in a townhouse, condominium, or apartment.
  • On the wall in your garage, particularly in newer homes.

For more information, visit www.VBgov.com/protect-your-pipes.

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