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Posted on: December 21, 2022

Your Water Pipes - Cold Weather Best Practices

Oconee County News

With the cold weather approaching this weekend Oconee County Water Resources would like to offer residents some suggestions on how to avoid the damage that can be caused when water pipes freeze and burst.

Water pipes located in a crawlspace or on an outside wall are subjected to sub-freezing temperatures, as are pipes located in a garage or any other unheated building. To help reduce the probability of your pipes freezing and bursting, the Oconee County Water Resources recommends the following:

  • Wrap or insulate exposed pipes susceptible to low temperatures.
  • Utilize other devices, such as heat tape, to help keep pipes from freezing.
  • Leave water dripping on nights and or days when temperatures drop below freezing for more than a few hours. 
  • Some pipes, such as those located in cabinets or vanities, and situated against an outside wall may be insulated but may be likely to freeze. It is a good practice to leave cabinet doors open to allow heat in the room to keep pipes warm and prevent freezing.  

Water Resources also suggests these simple steps to avoid a water leak and damage:

  • Turn off inside water valve for any hose connections and open the outside hose bib to drain the line.
  • Know where your homes inside main water cutoff valve is and check that it is functional by hand. In case of a leak this valve will turn off water flow coming into the home and thereby limit damage.
  • Seal any air leaks that allow icy blasts to reach pipes.
  • For homes with crawl spaces, close outside air vents located in the foundation wall during extremely cold temperatures to keep exposed plumbing from freezing.
  • If you are going on an extended vacation, set your thermostat to at least 55°F or above.  

If your pipes do freeze, OCWR recommends opening the cold water faucet nearest the frozen pipe to relieve pressure. Then, use a gentle heat source, such as a light bulb or hair dryer, to thaw the pipe. DO NOT use an open flame.  

County Water Lines During Cold Water

All water lines from the water main up to the water meter are considered county property. If there is a break in the water main or a blockage in the sewer main call Oconee County Water Resources at 706-769-3960.  

All water service lines beyond the meter are considered private property.  If a break occurs on private property, you should call a plumber.  If you need water cut off due to a break in your private line  Oconee County Water Resources can be contacted for assistance at 706-769-3960.

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