When temperatures begin to lower in the fall, it’s time to get ready for winter. Every winter season, homeowners in mountain communities are at risk of the damage and expense caused by frozen pipes. Remember, all water lost due to frozen/broken pipes is the homeowner’s responsibility. However, just a few precautions can greatly reduce your risk (and may even help with your winter heating efficiency)!
Don’t let your irrigation system turn into an ice sculpture!
DISCONNECT AND DRAIN ALL OUTDOOR HOSES – Detaching hoses from outdoor faucets allows water to drain from the pipe.
INSULATE PIPES OR FAUCETS IN UNHEATED AREAS – If you have pipelines in an unheated garage or cold crawl space under the house, wrap the water pipes before temperatures plummet.
SEAL OFF ACCESS DOORS, AIR VENTS AND CRACKS – Winter winds whistling through overlooked openings can quickly freeze exposed water pipes. Just don’t plug air vents your furnace or water heater need for proper ventilation.
FIND THE MASTER SHUTOFF-often called a CUSTOMER SHUT OFF VALVE (CSOV) – In case of a leak, everyone in the family needs to know where it is and what it does. It’s usually where the water line comes into your house from the street.
WINTERIZE A VACANT HOME – Before vacating your home for the winter be sure to shut off water to your house using the master shutoff (CSOV). Then open and drain ALL household and irrigation lines. Any trapped water can freeze causing pipes to expand and break. Once all the lines have been drained it is important to close all household and irrigation lines again before leaving your home.
Keep in mind that maintaining low heat in your home does not ensure your pipes will not freeze. This is especially true if you are not a permanent resident. However, taking the precautions mentioned above before the cold weather sets in could save you the headaches and expense of frozen or broken pipes this winter.
Vacation Home Owners— TURN OFF YOUR WATER AND WINTERIZE!
Don’t let this happen to you!
Lake Arrowhead homes have two shut off valves–one at the district meter and one for the house. If you are going to be away from your mountain home for the winter, both valves should be turned off. Please remember that only authorized District personnel may turn the district meter off and on. To have the district meter valve shut off, please call the District at (909) 336-7100. Customers must then open your indoor taps until all the water drains out of the pipes. Then close the taps and shut off the valve for the house. Leave both valves turned off. This way your water system will both be turned off and drained.
Note: If you have a Customer Shut Off Valve installed near the meter, it is not necessary to have the district meter valve shut off as well. Call a plumber today to have your CSOV installed, if you don’t already have one.
What if it’s too late? What if you wake up to find the pipes are frozen anyway?
During an extended cold spell, it could happen despite precautions. Do you have a plumber’s telephone number handy? Write it down now before you need it in an emergency.
If you think you know where the freeze-up occurred and want to try thawing it yourself, do not under any circumstances use a torch with an open flame! The whole house could catch fire. Also, overheating a single spot can burst the pipe. Heating a soldered joint could allow it to leak or come completely apart.
The easiest tool is probably a hair dryer with a low heat setting. Wave the warm air back and forth along the pipe, not on one spot. If you don’t have a hair dryer, you can wrap the frozen section with rags or towels and pour hot water over them. It’s messy, but it works.
Be careful because the pipe may already be broken. It’s not leaking because the water is frozen. But when you thaw it out, water could come gushing out. Be ready to run for the master shutoff valve (CSOV) if necessary. The main thing is to take precautions before winter sets in.
If you have any questions about winterizing, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service staff at (909) 336-7100.