Water Department Provides Advice on How to Avoid Frozen Pipes During Extended Power Outage

As low temperatures persist, precautions make sense

Marlene Feist, Utilities Communications Manager, (509) 625-6505

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 at 6 p.m.

For citizens who continue to be without power during extended cold weather, the City of Spokane’s Water Department is emphasizing some tips to try to avoid frozen pipes as low temperatures persist. Volunteers who have gone door-to-door since Friday also have provided information about protecting water pipes.

If you need additional advice, call the Water Department at 625.7800.

Tips to Avoid Frozen Pipes During Extended Power Outage

  • Leave kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open to allow the somewhat warmer air in the room to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Leave a trickle of water running from the faucet highest in the house. This trickle should be a steady stream slightly larger than the lead of a pencil.
  • Consider wrapping pipes in exposed areas with insulation. A pipe sleeve, or even newspaper, can be effective.
  • If you haven’t already, make sure hoses are disconnected from outside faucets, drain all underground outdoor irrigation systems, and close valves that serve outside outdoor hose bibs.
  • As a precaution, advise all household members where the main water shutoff valve is located in case of emergency to avoid extensive water damage.

If you have a frozen pipe:

  • NEVER thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame. You may start a fire!
  • Use hot air from a hair dryer, the exhaust from a vacuum cleaner, heat lamps, heat tape, or electric heaters to thaw a frozen pipe.
  • Also consider using a lightbulb to thaw pipes slowly, by placing it next to pipes that are frozen. Be sure to keep the bulb away from combustible material to avoid starting a fire.