The Department of Water Management wants to remind residents to take precautions to prevent their pipes from freezing.
As the temperature drops for more prolonged periods of time, the greater the chance that pipes could freeze and burst – causing costly damage to homes.
TIPS TO PREVENT PIPES FROM FREEZING
- Make sure the pipes in your homes are properly insulated and not exposed to freezing air.
- Maintain proper heat in your homes.
- Insulate pipes, particularly those outside or on the perimeter of the residence.
- Run a trickle of cold water on each floor of the home at the points furthest from the location of the main water service into the home.
- Make sure that there is warm air circulating in any area where there are water pipes. This includes garages and unheated areas of the home.
- Remove all garden hoses from hose bibs and cover the bibs with Syrofoam hose bib insulating caps.
- Make sure there are no broken windows.
If pipes freeze, do not thaw them using candles or any open flame. Instead please use a hair dryer or heating pad.
Visit www.cityofchicago.org/water for more tips on how to prevent frozen pipes.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE SNOW MELTS?
Remember that snow is water. When snow melts, the water drains the same as it does after a rain fall.
Snow melting on a warm day after heavy snow fall can cause the sewer system to overload with water. To keep this water from backing up into the basement, keep these tips in mind:
- Clear sewer catch basins of old leaves or debris before a big snow.
- Limit the use of dishwashers and washing machines when heavy snow fall is melting quickly. This will prevent excess water from overloading the sewer system.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND STORMWATER
Even though it’s winter, we are seeing weather conditions that can lead to flooding. No longer just a problem in spring, the Department of Water Management encourages residents to assist in reducing excess water from reaching the sewer system. Community-wide efforts can greatly decrease the impact of neighborhood flooding and the extent of basement backups by taking the following steps:
· Do not dump fats/oils/greases down the drain or down catch basins in the street.
· Avoid running a dishwasher or washing machine during storms or when snow is melting quickly.
· Disconnect downspout connections from the sewer system. Make sure to direct flow to areas with permeable surfaces that can properly absorb the stormwater or use rain barrels to collect the rain directly from the downspouts.
· Install rain gardens, green landscaping, or trees with large canopies in your yard to help retain rainwater.
· Resurface driveways, parking pads, or patios with permeable pavement.
MAINTAIN GOOD WATER QUALITY
To ensure good water quality, remember to flush your plumbing system every day. Simply run the cold water for five minutes when water in the home hasn’t been used for six hours or more. Daily activities such as showering, doing laundry or dishes count as daily flushing.
The Department of Water Management offers free water testing to all Chicago residents. If you are interested in having your water tested for free call 311 or visit www.ChicagoWaterQuality.org to request a lead test kit.