The most likely event to affect water utilities would be extreme weather, particularly extreme cold temperature events. The following suggestions will minimize damage to property and furnishings in the event of frozen pipes.
- Insulate exposed pipes and faucets
- Mark your home shut-off valve
- Regularly shovel a path to your shut-off valve
- If you do not have a home shut-off valve, consider installing one. Most water utility providers will waive shut-off/turn on charges upon proof of installation
- Fill holes in doors, windows, and walls near water pipes
- Look for Underwriters Laboratory (UL) seal of approval on any electrical products. Remember, heat tape products won’t work during power outages
- Do not leave water running to prevent frozen pipes. It doesn’t always work, can cause water damage to your home and wastes a valuable natural resource
- If your pipes do freeze, open a faucet near the frozen point to release water vapor from the melting ice. If you know where the frozen spot is, wrap the pipe with towels and repeatedly pour hot water over the towels. Never use a flame or a hair dryer to thaw pipes – the risks of fire or electrocution are too great!
- If your pipes break, shut off your water using your home shut-off valve to control flooding and water damage. If you do not have a home shut-off, call your water service provider for an emergency shut-off.
How to Turn off Gas
Make sure all family members know how and when to shut off the gas supply.
- If you smell gas after an earthquake, shut off the main gas valve.
- Use a wrench to turn the valve either way until it is perpendicular to the pipe.
- Attach the wrench to the gas meter with a wire.
- Be aware that once your gas is turned off, it is advisable to contact your gas provider when it is time to turn the gas back on because all of the pilot lights will need to be relit.
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