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When water freezes within a pipe, the volume of water expands. The same amount of water takes up more space as a solid than as a liquid. This causes the pipes to expand and possibly break at a weak point. You may notice this immediately, or it may not become apparent until the pipe begins to thaw, with the break occurring only when full water pressure is restored.
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The property owner's responsibility for maintenance begins immediately after the "curb stop" and extends through the property and all plumbing within the entire home. The "curb stop" is the main valve, generally located near the property line, housed in a cylinder with a cap on it called the "curb box". This valve allows the MFWD to turn the water service off or on in an emergency or for repairs. The resident is responsible for all shut off valves on either side of the water meter and the plumbing throughout the home. Although the water meter itself is the property of the MFWD, the customer is responsible for protecting the meter from damage; including freezing.
Call the Water Department immediately to have someone come out to shut off the water at the street or "curb stop".
Keeping the main shut off valves in good working condition will ensure that you are able to turn your water off if one of your pipes breaks, or in the event of another emergency. Give the valve a turn occasionally to prevent corrosion build up. If the valve becomes corroded, you should probably replace it. Call a licensed plumber and then call the Water Department to see about scheduling the water to be shut off at the street. Generally a 48-hour notice should be given, unless there is an emergency. There is a $25 charge for the service. (After hours emergency shut off is $50)
Generally, when a pipe that feeds a certain fixture such as a shower, sink, or toilet freezes, you will not be able to get water from that fixture.
Yes. Water service lines can freeze when the ground frost gets deep enough to encase your service line in ice. However, this generally happens only when your service line is less than five fee below the surface of the ground.
The water service line is the pipe that connects to the City's water main in the street to your home. This line has valves on it to allow your water to be turned on or off. There is a valve between the City's main and your home that the Water Department accesses to turn your water on or off.
Your best course of action is to call a professional plumber. MFWD can only shut off the water at the street. There is a fee charged for this service. If you have any emergency and require service disconnection after regular business hours, the fee is increased.
Yes, but you'll need to be very careful! Some improper thawing methods could cause the pipes to burst; others can injure or even kill you! Here are some of the safer methods:
DO NOT try to thaw a frozen pipe with a blowtorch. There's a good chance that you will cause the water to boil within the pipe, resulting in an explosion when the pipe bursts. Also, a blow torch will release poisonous gasses into the air; you might die trying to defrost your pipes!
There are many things you can do to keep your pipes from freezing in extreme weather. Here are just some suggestions: