Protect Your Pipes and your wallet

Protect Your Pipes and your wallet
Posted on 12/21/2022
Preparing pipes for winter.

Bundle up, El Paso - the borderland is expecting below freezing temperatures over the next few days. But before the chill in the air puts a crack in your pipes, El Paso Water urges customers to follow a few simple measures to “Protect Your Pipes.”

When water freezes, it expands in volume by nearly 10%, that extra pressure can result in broken water lines that lead to costly repairs and water leaks at your home or business.

“Outdoor water faucets and plumbing are vulnerable to the cold temperatures, particularly if they are not insulated,” said Gilbert Trejo, Vice President of Operations and Technical Services. “Customers should be proactive in protecting their homes.”

According to property repair experts, a broken ½ inch water pipe could spill as much as 50 gallons per minute depending on the size of the break. Depending on the extent of the damage, fixing a burst water pipe can cost anywhere from $400 to more than $2,000. Thankfully, most winter emergencies can be prevented with a little preparation.

Here are some quick tips to avoid damages to your property:

  • Insulate exposed pipes and faucets outside and around your home, including those in unheated areas like garages or crawl-spaces, and disconnect garden hoses from outdoor faucets.
  • In severe cold only, let cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes. Running a drip of water through the pipes helps prevent freezing because the temperature of the water is above freezing.
  • If you are taking a vacation or will be away for several days, maintain temperatures inside the home and open sink cabinet doors so warm air can reach pipes to prevent freezing, or turn off your water at the meter, and/or ask someone to monitor your home in your absence. 

If your pipes do freeze:

  • Locate your water meter and shut off the water immediately to avoid further damage and water waste. Don’t attempt to thaw pipes without turning off the main shut-off valve.
  • Thaw pipes with warm air. Melt the frozen water in the pipe by warming the air around it. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
  • Be careful turning the water back on. Once pipes are thawed, slowly turn the water back on and check pipes and joints for any cracks or leaks that might have been caused by freezing.

Leak Adjustment Program

Remember, property owners are responsible for water pipes that start at the meter and run throughout their property. If you experience a broken pipe on your property, you may qualify for the leak adjustment program – available to customers once every two years. Customers can get a partial credit on their bill if they show proof of repairs for a leak. Learn more about detecting leaks here.

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