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

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

College Station will begin to feel like the North Pole Thursday afternoon – just in time for Christmas. Temperatures will drop below freezing by Thursday night and are expected to stay there through early next week.

That means now is the time to protect your home and family.

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

If you, or someone you know, is planning to be away from home during the freeze or soon after temperatures rise above freezing, ensure the water is turned off. That proactive move can prevent costly repair bills due to pipes breaking while residents are away.   

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.
  • Make sure everyone in your house knows where to find the master water shutoff valve. You can usually find it between the water meter and your home. 
  • 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, it will run if the controller isn’t in the OFF position. Note that some controllers lose their programming during a power outage, and when they’re plugged back in, they revert to the default mode and water daily. So, don’t unplug your controller.

If you have a water leak or power outage, contact College Station Utilities’ 24-hour hotline at 855-528-4278 and have your account number ready. Please don’t call 911, which would needlessly divert critical health and safety resources.

In addition, CSU’s electric outage map can provide up-to-date information if you can access the internet through a mobile device.

For more information, contact me at 979-764-6223 or jnations@cstx.gov. Be safe and stay warm!

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