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Town Talk: Reduce risk of frozen water pipes

By George Brown

Water/Steam Supervisor

Cold weather brings a chance of water pipes freezing and breaking. This risk increases with long stretches of extremely cold weather. Here are some tips to help avoid frozen water pipes in your home.

• Most water service lines enter the home in the basement. Make sure that the basement temperature is at least 55 degrees.

• Expose water pipes to warmer air by leaving cupboard doors open under the kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow heat to enter that space.

• Check for air leaks in your home that could freeze the water pipes.

• Monitor the temperature of your home’s water by running the water in a sink closest to your water meter until the water is at its coldest temperature. For example, use a laundry sink in the basement. The water temperature should be around 45 degrees in the winter. If the temperature drops below 40 degrees, your service line may be starting to freeze up.

• You can help prevent a service line from freezing by letting the water run from a faucet at 1 quart per minute. This would be a pencil size flow of water from your faucet. This results in a flow of about 5,400 gallons in one month and would cost about $42 for the month above your usual water/sewer usage. The cost to have a contractor thaw a frozen water service is estimated at a minimum of $400.

The risk of frozen water service lines will continue until the extreme cold passes and the temperature returns to normal levels.

Editor’s Note: The City of New Ulm presents a weekly column highlighting activities in different departments in the city government. Once a month the city will answer questions from readers. Questions on New Ulm city issues can be sent to comments@ci.new-ulm.mn.us.

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