Water Pipes Holding Up So Far In Cold Weather

Water district employees say there hasn't been an usual amount of problems despite the East Bay's freezing overnight temperatures

So far, the pipes are holding.

East Bay water officials say they didn't receive an unusual number of calls over the weekend for damaged water pipes despite 30-degree overnight temperatures in some communities.

East Bay Municipal Utility District crews went out on 30 calls over the weekend from homeowners who said their pipes had frozen, according to district spokesman Charles Hardy. That's the highest number in any one day this winter.

However, Hardy said EBMUD crews only received 13 calls this past weekend for pipes bursting. That is slightly below normal for a day in January.

The Contra Costa Water District didn't have an exact number, but district spokeswoman Jennifer Allen said weekend crews reported they didn't have an extraordinaly high number of requests.

It looks like much of the East Bay will endure at least a couple more days of freezing overnight temperatures.

The National Weather Service forecast calls for temperatures to drop into the low 30s on Monday and Tuesday nights. Highs on Tuesday and Wednesday are only expected to be around the mid-50s.

On Wednesday night, the lows are expected to rise a bit to the high 30s with dayside highs in the upper 50s on Thursday. That pattern is expected to continue until early next week.

Utility districts recommend covering exterior pipes and hose bibs to prevent water from freezing or pipes from bursting.

The Contra Costa Water District also has tips on how to prevent pipes from freezing or bursting and what to do if they do.

If a pipe does burst, the most important thing is to turn the water off to your house to prevent water from continuing to flow. Repairs can come later.

There is usually a valve on a front faucet where you can do this.

If that doesn't work, call your local water district to come out and shut off the water at your meter. Don't attempt this yourself. You can hurt yourself or break the valve if you don't have the proper tools.

Tim January 15, 2013 at 03:17 AM
First off, pipes aren't going to "freeze and burst" because of temperatures at 30-32 degrees for one overnight period. You need colder temperatures for a longer period for that to happen. Secondly, anytime the temperature drops below freezing you can prevent pipes from freezing by letting the water run on a faucet. It only needs to trickle to prevent freezing to the point of pipes breaking. This worked well for me when I lived in the northeast, however my water lines were all copper... not sure how well the new pex tubing (plastic) holds up.


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