TOMS RIVER – It’s officially winter, which means home and business water lines have the potential to crack and break in freezing temperatures.
“Now is the time for residents to be proactive and take preventive steps to protect water pipes and meters from fracturing or freezing,” SUEZ Director of Operations Jim Mastrokalos said. “Our crews work around the clock during bitter temperatures, responding to outages, emergencies and repairing water infrastructure leaks within our service territory, but customers should be aware that they are responsible for plumbing on their own properties.”
Fluctuating temperatures can cause cracking or breaking pipes because water expands as it freezes and contracts with weather warm-ups.
SUEZ offered these tips for preparing homes and businesses for winter weather.
Garden houses should be drained and disconnected. Vents, crawlspaces and doors should be closed to prevent cold air from seeping in. Broken windows should be fixed, and cracked walls sealed.
Inside, meter and water lines that can freeze should be wrapped in insulation or heat tape, both of which are available at local hardware stores. It’s important to make sure that shutoff valve on either side of the water meter is working properly; consider tagging it so it’s easily located in an emergency. Home and business owners should check the meter periodically to ensure it’s working properly. Even though owners will be billed for the water used, a trickle running from the highest faucet can help prevent costly plumbing repairs later.
It’s important to keep some heat on even if the home or business owner will be away for an extended period of time.
If pipes freeze, blockages should be cleared as soon as possible to minimize damage; SUEZ suggests calling a license plumber. The main shutoff valve to the house should be shut off if a pipe does burst. A nearby faucet should be opened so the pipe can drain as it thaws. Never use hot water or a blowtorch to thaw frozen pipes.
Electrical appliances should never be used in areas of standing water.
Residents who notice water leaks on their premises or in streets should immediately contact SUEZ at 877-565-1456.