When temps drop, there are things you can do to be prepared. Below are some tips to help keep water flowing during a freeze.
- Wrap all exposed pipes, faucets, etc. This includes pipes under your house if it doesn't have a solid foundation.
- Weather-proof doors and windows to help keep heat in your house. Leaving cabinet doors open will help keeps those lines flowing.
- Stock up on water in case of an emergency - drinking, cooking, bathing, flushing, animals.
- It helps to have extra repair supplies on hand in case of a break. Even if you can't repair the line, hardware stores have tapes that will provide a temporary fix.
Keep lines from freezing
The best way to avoid frozen pipes and possible broken pipes is to not have any water in them to start with.
If possible, shut your water off at the meter using the ball valve (the ball valve is at the front of the meter between it & your house). Then, turn on a faucet to drain all water in the lines. The next morning, turn the ball valve back on and use water as needed.
If that is not possible, leave faucets dripping slowly overnight. In the morning, check for frozen lines by turning on 1 faucet slowly. If pressure or volume is less than normal, it’s possible a line(s) is froze or partially frozen.
If your water lines do freeze, let them thaw gradually. Be sure to check for leaks as water is restored. You can do this by looking at the meter when you are not using water. If any of the dials (silver star, red needle, “odometer”) are moving, water is going through your meter. Start looking for possible leaks.
What to do if you have a leak
If you see that the dials are moving on the meter when you are not using water, take the following steps to help isolate & find the leak:
- If you have a shut-off to your house, turn it off. Look at the meter. If the dials stopped moving, the leak is after the shut-off. Check pipes around & under your house. If nothing is found, check inside. If the dials on the meter are still moving, the leak is between the meter and your house. Once you determine where the leak is, shut the water off at the meter using the ball valve.
- If you do not have a shut off at your house, you can turn the ball valve off at the meter to prevent additional water loss and start looking for leaks at the house and work your way back to the meter.
- Since water will sink before rising to the surface you may not see the water. The old standby is to start gently poking around with a shovel or something to see if you can find a soft spot. If the leak just started, the ground may not be soft enough to notice where the leak is. Just be careful when digging up spots.
We learned alot during 2021 along with the rest of Texas! And, we've been busy preparing our facilities for a possible repeat of an extended freeze. Below are some steps we've taken to help ensure our members have continued water service:
- Upgraded existing generators at plants to meet power needs as well as fuel storage
- Added new generators & fuel storage at 4 locations to increase coverage for the entire system
- Winterized our facillities to make sure they can operate during freezing weather
- Regularly test generators and connections to make sure they will automatically start if power fails
- Developed Emergency Preparedness Plan and Emergency Response Plan for key personnel to follow
- Received Critical Use Utility designation from our electricty providers so they will maintain electricity if at all possible at our plants
While we cannot fully prepare for all possibilities, Benton City Water has taken these steps to be on a solid foundation for when severe weather happens.