Winter Prep Tips

Protect water pipes, plumbing, and irrigation systems at your home or business:

  • Insulate your pipes. Use foam or wrap insulation to protect exposed pipes, faucets, bibs, and valves from freezing. Temporary insulation (towels, blankets, newspaper, etc.) is better than nothing. Inspect existing insulation, especially in areas exposed to elements. Seal all areas that allow cold outside air to get in where pipes are located.
  • Winterize your irrigation system. Consult your owner/operator manual for instructions on how to winterize or shut down the system.
  • Insulate the main shut-off valve of your irrigation system. If there is none, consider installing a shut-off valve as a preventive investment.
  • Protect your hose. Remove, drain, and store outdoor hoses inside.
  • Let cold water drip. A slow drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes can help relieve pressure during extremely frigid temperatures.

Protect your backflow prevention assembly:

  • Protect the assembly. Use an insulation bag, covered enclosure, or pipe insulation wrap. Temporary insulation (towels, blankets, newspaper, etc.) is better than nothing.
  • Watch for leaks. If a backflow prevention assembly is leaking, it likely has frozen. Contact your tester immediately for repair or replacement.

What to do if your water pipe freezes:

  • Be patient. There is no quick remedy. Do not pour hot water over a frozen pipe or do anything that would cause a rapid rise in temperature. Do not use open flame or torches to thaw pipes.
  • Pipes will need to gradually warm up. Blow warm air from a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner canister on the frozen section to begin warming. Wave the warm air back and forth. Keep a faucet in your home in the ‘on’ position during thawing to prevent a slug of water from going through and causing more damage.

What to do if your water pipes burst:

  • Turn off the water. Turn off the water to your home or business at the main shut-off valve. This valve is usually located where the main water line enters the building. If you cannot locate the shut-off-valve in an emergency, turn off the water at the meter. Most water meters are located at the front of a home or business near the sidewalk, or at the rear, such as in an alley. Remove the lid, and on the side closest to your home or business, you should see either a gate valve or a ball valve. To close a gate valve, turn to the right; to close a ball valve, turn ¼ of the way to the right. Close valves slowly to avoid water hammer (a pressure surge when liquid is force to stop or change direction suddenly). If you cannot see or turn the valve, call Tucson Water. Do not tamper with the city shut-off side of the meter itself.
  • Call a plumber for assistance. If a break is between the water meter and your home or business you may need a plumber.
  • Call Tucson water for assistance. If you need the water meter valve turned off, call Tucson Water Customer Service at 520-791-3242 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). During after-hours/weekend/holiday, call the emergency number at 520-791-4133.

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