Avoiding frozen water service lines
The recent extremely cold temperatures have resulted in some frozen water service lines to homes and businesses in St. Louis Park. While the frost isn’t yet low enough to freeze water services in the ground, lines can freeze at the foundation of the building where they enter the building, especially if the connection is in an unheated room, a panel in the wall, small box, etc. This can cause problems if water isn’t run over the course of an extended weekend or longer. If you investigate and find that the area where the water line enters your house or business is unheated, follow these steps:
- Run your cold water continuously at a rate of one gallon every four minutes – about the stream width of a pencil. The cold water should be run from the lowest point in your home or building, usually a laundry room sink or tub. Do not run hot water.
- If your pipes are frozen, use a small heater, blow dryer or heat tape to thaw the line where your service enters the building, usually near the water meter. Do not use an open flame!
- If your pipes have already frozen and been thawed, it’s essential to keep water running continuously. Turning the water off, even for a few minutes, could cause the once-frozen line to refreeze. Pipes that have frozen once are likely to refreeze if water is not run continuously at a rate of one gallon every four minutes – about the stream width of a pencil.
- Once the outside temperatures rise above freezing, don’t stop running your water. It will take frost much longer to leave the ground than just a few days of above-freezing temperatures.
- If you have a frozen water pipe and don’t have water service, call St. Louis Park Utilities during regular business hours at 952.924.2562, or call 952.924.2618 after hours.
Utility customers are responsible for the cost of increased water use needed to keep pipes unfrozen. While it’s important to balance the small risk of frozen water pipes against the increased cost of continuous water use and wasted water, it’s also true that the cost of extra water use is most likely far smaller than the cost of repairing a frozen water line.