Protect Yourself and Your Water Pipes in Cold Weather

OSWEGO – The Oswego County Health Department confirmed today (Feb. 26) that there are a number of frozen water service lines in several public water systems in the county.

“This has been a severe winter weather season for many of us,” said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. “With the recent number of reports of freezing water pipes, we want to make sure that people are taking the proper precautions to protect themselves and their property.”

The Oswego County Health Department advises residents who are serviced by a municipal water system take the following precautions.

These steps will help prevent further service interruptions, along with the mess and aggravation of frozen water pipes:

• Seal any leaks that allow cold air inside where pipes are located.
• Let hot and cold water trickle at night from a faucet on an outer wall.
• Open cabinet doors to allow more heat to get to un-insulated pipes under a sink or appliance near an outer wall.
• Leave the heat on at all times and set it no lower than 55 degrees.

If you plan to be away from home at this time of the year, have someone check your house daily to make sure that the heat is still on to prevent freezing.

Another option is to drain and shut off the water system, except indoor sprinklers.

If you are already dealing with frozen water pipes, follow these helpful tips:

• Know how to shut off the water in case the pipes burst. Stopping the water flow will minimize the damage to your home.
• Contact a plumber and your insurance agent.
• Never try to thaw a pipe with an open flame or torch.
• Always be careful of the potential for electric shock in and around standing water.

To report a case of frozen water pipes, contact your local water supplier.

For more information, call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3557.