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Posted on: January 12, 2024

Prepare Pipes for Winter Weather

Prepare Pipes for Winter Weather

Athens-Clarke County is expected to have low temperatures in the coming days, which can mean trouble for water pipes. When water in pipes freezes, it expands, which can cause pipes to burst, leaving residents and property owners without water and a potentially hefty repair bill. Fortunately, residents and property owners can take steps to protect plumbing from the winter chill before, and even after, a freeze event. 

1. Before Cold Weather Sets In

  • Shut off and drain any outdoor hoses, sprinklers, and irrigation systems before temperatures plummet.
  • Wrap pipes in insulation or pipe sleeves.
  • Find the main water valve and ensure it can be turned off. The water main might be in a basement or under a metal cover in the yard near the street.
  • Close off crawl spaces, seal any holes, and ensure all the pipes inside are protected from outside air.

2. When Freezing Temps Arrive

  • Open cabinet and vanity doors to ensure pipes are at the same temperature as the building interior.
  • Set the inside thermostat at 55 degrees F or higher.
  • Let a small trickle run from the faucet - moving water can't freeze in one place.

3. If Pipes Freeze

  • Immediately shut off the main water valve to the home or business.
  • Slowly thaw pipes with a blow dryer or a small space heater. Never warm pipes with an open flame.
  • After the water in the pipe is thawed, slowly turn the water back on and carefully inspect pipes and joints for leaks.

Athens-Clarke County water customers can also register for a free WaterSmart account to track water use and receive high use notifications.

Find more information at

Winter Weather Tips Webpage
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