Tips for keeping pipes from freezing and when to call MUB

As cold air moves into our area, Morgantown Utility Board offers the following tips to help keep water pipes from freezing.

  • Take time to look around your house for pipes that may be exposed to freezing temperatures, This includes areas such as crawl spaces, attics, garages and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets where the pipes run through exterior walls.
  • Insulate pipes with pipe sleeves, or UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable" or similar materials. These items are readily available at local hardware stores.
  • Open interior faucets so a trickle of continuous water flows. However, when doing this be certain that the drain in which the water is flowing is not susceptible to freezing.
  • If you have water lines in your garage, be certain the garage door remains closed.
  • If you have pipes that run through exterior walls to under-sink cabinets, leave the cabinet doors open so warm air can circulate. REMEMBER: If you do leave cabinets open, remove harmful chemicals out of the reach of children!
  • Remove all outdoor hoses, drain the water from them and store them in an area that will not freeze. Close the interior valves to outside water supplies (i.e. hose bibs and fountains). With the interior valve closed, open the outside water supply and allow it to completely drain. Keep the outside water supply open to permit any remaining water to expand without breaking the pipes.
  • When the temperature outside becomes extremely cold, keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and at night.
  • If leaving your home during periods of cold weather, set the thermostat to maintain a temperature no lower than 55ºF.

Should your pipes freeze—

  • Start by keeping the faucet open when thawing pipes (Note: Only do this when at home and supervising the open faucet to avoid a possible flood in the event your drain is clogged!). This will encourage water to move through the pipes and aid in the thawing process.
  • Soak towels in hot water and wrap them around the pipes. Do NOT use any device that has an open flame. Devices that utilize open flames, such as a torch or heater, can not only cause the water to boil and the pipe to explode but cause fire or damage to fittings.
  • If unable to access the pipes call a licensed plumber.

In any situation where your home is entirely without water, please call MUB at 304-292-8443 before calling a plumber. We will evaluate the situation and if it is on our side (i.e. a frozen meter) we will fix the problem at no charge to you. If the issue is on your side we will notify you of this without charge. This can save you the cost of paying a plumber.