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Prepare for winter before it arrives

Prepare for winter before it arrives

Colorado Springs Utilities said it stays busy repairing water main leaks and breaks due to freezing temperatures.

It said many homeowners do not realize that when breaks happen in service lines on their property, it is not up to CSU to repair those lines.

"You are responsible for your water service line from your house all the way up to where your curbstop valve is installed.  It could be at your nearest property line or alley line," said Bobby Powell, water construction crew supervisor with Colorado Springs Utilities.

In the event the freeze is within the bounds of the property line, homeowners need to call a plumber.

"We use an underground thawing machine to help thaw out the water so it can freely flow again," said Gene Whiting, HVAC manager with Affordable Plumbing & Heating.

If the frozen line is between the homeowner's property line and the water main, which usually runs beneath the street, CSU is responsible for the repairs.

Powell explained that frozen water can happen quickly.

"A customer could go home, have water, go to sleep, wake up the next morning and be out of water because it froze," he said.

Frozen water clogging pipes is more common in service lines outside the home, because the pressure of the dirt and ground typically constrains the pipe and prevents it from bursting.

Inside the home, pipes are more likely to split and burst from water freezing and expanding.

Affordable Plumbing & Heating said a common mistake homeowners make is neglecting to disconnect garden hoses during the winter.  Whiting explained water can get trapped in the pipe between the hose and the cut-off valve, and it is this water that will freeze and split the pipe.  In this scenario, homeowners may not even learn of the split until the water is turned on for the first time in the spring.

Whiting said the most important preventative measure homeowners can do now is to ensure their heaters are working efficiently.  He said once the freeze sets in and homeowners detect a problem, it can be too late to fix the problem before pipes begin freezing.

The cost to repair frozen pipes can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the extent of the repairs.

If homeowners suspect they have a frozen pipe, or know they are prone to frozen pipes, they should contact their plumber immediately.


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