Take the appropriate steps to protect your pipes now before this week’s freezing weather

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

With freezing temperatures in the forecast starting Thursday, it’s time for a quick chemistry lesson.

Water expands on freezing, so water left in sprinkler systems can freeze, expand the pipe, and bam – you have a big, messy water leak. But if you take the appropriate precautions in advance, you can protect your water pipes and irrigation systems – and avoid the muddy mess. 

Before the Freeze

  • Disconnect and drain garden hoses from outside faucets.
  • Insulate exposed pipes or faucets in unheated areas with a Styrofoam cover, rags, or paper.
  • Find your master water shutoff valve and make sure everyone knows where it’s located. You can usually find it between the water meter and the building. 
  • Drain your in-ground sprinkler system, including the backflow prevention device, then turn off the water to your system.
  • Wrap or cover exposed PVC pipes and above-ground backflow preventers.
  • Set your irrigation controller to OFF and leave it there. If the controller isn’t turned off, it will run.
  • Pay close attention to exposed backflow prevention devices. They can cause significant leaks – often in the form of geysers – if they freeze.

During the Freeze

  • Don’t run your irrigation system. It’s not only a violation of city ordinance, but the runoff can freeze on streets and sidewalks, creating a hazard for drivers and pedestrians.
  • Again, if the controller isn’t in the OFF position, it will run. Note that some controllers lose their programming during a power outage. When they’re plugged back in, they revert to the default mode to water every day. So don’t unplug your controller.

Report water leaks to College Station Utilities 24-Hour Dispatch at 855-528-4278. Please don’t call 911 to report water or electricity outages.

For more information, contact me at 979-764-6223 or jnations@cstx.gov.

<em><strong><mark style="background-color:rgba(0, 0, 0, 0)" class="has-inline-color has-medium-gray-color">About the Blogger</mark></strong></em>
About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.

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