Posts Tagged ‘Cold weather’

November 21, 2011

Winterize Your Home

Cold, winter weather will soon be upon us. Take advantage of the temperate, fall conditions to do some winterizing around your home.  Here are a few tips to help you prevent your pipes from freezing:

  •  Cover the pipes in your attic, crawl spaces, and unheated garage with pipe insulation, heat tape or heat cables.  Make sure you use material safe for pipe insulation. The more insulation you use, the better your pipes will be protected.
  • Seal any leaks allowing cold air inside your home with caulk or insulation.  Leaks are commonly found around dryer vents, pipes, and electrical wiring.  Even a small air leak can cause your pipes to freeze during severely cold weather.
  • Disconnect garden hoses and store them indoors during the winter.  Cover your outdoor faucets with faucet covers, or wrap them in old rags and cover with plastic.  If possible, drain water from pipes leading to outdoor faucets by shutting off the indoor valve.
  • Open cabinet doors that cover plumbing on extremely cold nights.  This lets heat move to areas in your home where pipes are not insulated, such as under sinks.
  • Set the thermostat no lower than 55F (12C) if you are leaving your home for an extended period of time.  Turn off the water and drain your pipes. Fire protection sprinkler systems will deactivate automatically after the water is shut off.

Reminder for Winter Vacationers:

Contact a Des Moines Water Works Customer Service Representative at (515) 283-8700 with your departure and expected return dates.  If you plan to leave your water on while you are gone, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to periodically check your home.  Also, make sure you leave emergency contact information with that person.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers December 3, 2010

After a Main Break

As cold weather draws near, water main breaks become more common. The months of December, January and February bring the highest number of water main breaks.  Underground water mains can break for a number of reasons including corrosion, frost heave, and pressure fluctuations.  Des Moines Water Works crews repair an average of 250 water main breaks each year.  When a water main breaks, generally water comes to the surface and flows across the ground to a storm sewer or other waterway.  Large water main breaks can reduce water pressure in the area and the flowing water can cause damage.  If you see water surfacing, you should contact Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700 to report a possible break. 

Once a water main break has been confirmed, the exact location of the break is determined using ultrasonic leak detection equipment.  This equipment listens to the sound the water makes as it exits the pipe and can determine the location of the leak based on the intensity of the sound.  When the location of the leak has been determined, water service in the area must be shut down so the break can be repaired.  Depending on the time of day and the extent of the outage, it may not be possible to notify customers before the water is shut off.  Typically the water is off for approximately three hours.

When the water comes back on, there will likely be air in your water service piping.  It is a good idea to run the first water after an outage through a faucet that does not have an aerator screen, such as bathtubs and hose bibs.  Open faucets slowly to allow the air to escape.  Air will make a spurting or hissing sound as it escapes through the faucet.  Once the water is flowing, allow the faucet to run for a minute or two.  The first water may be cloudy due to air in the water or particles that dislodge as the pipes fill with water.  This should clear fairly quickly.  If water is cloudy throughout the house and it does not clear after allowing the water to run for several minutes, contact Des Moines Water Works dispatch center at (515) 283-8772 for assistance.

If kitchen or bathroom faucets do not perform normally following a water outage, it may be necessary to remove the aerator screen.  Typically, the aerator can simply be unscrewed from the faucet.  Inspect the screen for small particles and rinse away any you find.  Reinstall the aerator and test performance of the faucet again.  If you experience difficulties such as low pressure throughout the house following a water outage call Des Moines Water Works dispatch center at (515) 283-8772 for assistance.

You can find a list of current DMWW water outages here: http://www.dmww.com/EmergencyOutagesPopup.aspx

Posted by: Amy Kahler No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers, Infrastructure November 5, 2010

Winterize Today and Beat the Cold

Cold, winter weather will soon be upon us. Take advantage of the temperate, fall conditions to do some winterizing around your home.  Here are a few tips to help you prevent your pipes from freezing:

  • Cover the pipes in your attic, crawl spaces, and unheated garage with pipe insulation, heat tape or heat cables.  Make sure you use material safe for pipe insulation. The more insulation you use, the better your pipes will be protected. 
  • Seal any leaks allowing cold air inside your home with caulk or insulation.  Leaks are commonly found around dryer vents, pipes, and electrical wiring.  Even a small air leak can cause your pipes to freeze during severely cold weather.
  • Disconnect garden hoses and store them indoors during the winter.  Cover your outdoor faucets with faucet covers, or wrap them in old rags and cover with plastic.  If possible, drain water from pipes leading to outdoor faucets by shutting off the indoor valve.
  • Open cabinet doors that cover plumbing on extremely cold nights.  This lets heat move to areas in your home where pipes are not insulated, such as under sinks.
  • Set the thermostat no lower than 55F (12C) if you are leaving your home for an extended period of time.  Turn off the water and drain your pipes. Fire protection sprinkler systems will deactivate automatically after the water is shut off.

Reminder for Winter Vacationers

Contact a Des Moines Water Works Customer Service Representative at (515) 283-8700 with your departure and expected return dates.  If you plan to leave your water on while you are gone, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to periodically check your home.  Also, make sure you leave emergency contact information with that person.

Posted by: Amy Kahler No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers