Spokane City Water Department shares advice on keeping pipes from freezing this winter

iStock/Elenathewise

SPOKANE, Wash. — The weather outside is frightful, anticipated to drop into the single digits this week. The City of Spokane Water Department has some advice about keeping your water pipes from freezing.

Water pipes can potentially freeze in the winter, with the temperature causing ice to expand and crack the pipes. However, if a pipe is frozen, it does not always have to burst!

The Water Department recommends that before the weather gets too cold:

  • Inform the household where the water shutoff valve is located
  • Disconnect hoses from outside faucets
  • Insulate water pipes in unheated parts of the house
  • Seal all openings in the basement around the foundation, windows and doors
  • Insulate water pipes near basement windows
  • Drain all underground irrigation systems

During the cold weather, the Water Department recommends you:

  • Heat all rooms with plumbing fixtures
  • Leave cabinet doors under to help heat pipes in the walls
  • Keep meter box lids closed, and do not remove snow, as it helps insulate the box
  • Leave faucets at the top floor trickling water if nothing else works

Now, if your water pipes do freeze, the Water Department urges that you should never thaw it with an open flame, as it could potentially start a fire. They recommend using a hair dryer, exhaust from a vacuum cleaner, heat lamps, heat tape or electric heaters to thaw it. They also suggest using an incandescent lightbulb to slowly thaw a frozen pipe, though they cannot be substituted with modern LED bulbs, as they do not give off the same heat.