Johnson City Water and Sewer Services Department urges residents to protect pipes

Published 10:44 am Monday, November 27, 2023

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The Johnson City Water and Sewer Services Department encourages residents to follow these tips during periods of cold weather to protect their water pipes from bursting especially when they are out of town or away from home throughout the day.
Eliminate drafts – Keep doors and windows in the basement and garage tightly closed. Close off crawl space vents and doors, and seal cracks in basement or crawl space walls.
Insulate – Insulate pipes in unheated portions of the house such as exterior walls, crawl spaces, basements, cabinets, or any enclosure where air cannot circulate. Be alert for damp insulation; water soaked insulation can cause a freeze-up.
Protect meter – Make sure the meter box cover is not broken, missing, or ajar. These conditions allow freezing cold air to penetrate the box’s insulation. Report missing or broken covers to the Water and Sewer Services Department at 423-461-1645.
Protect outside faucets – Outside faucets and sprinkler systems should be drained. Garden hoses should be disconnected and drained. Any space between faucet and exterior wall should be caulked. Check with your plumber about frost-proof faucets.
Drain pipes if leaving town – When away from home for extended periods and heat is not left on, turn water off at the cutoff and drain the lines.
Leave faucet running – When temperatures reach low teens, leave a very thin stream of water running continuously from at least one tap. It is important to note, however, that faucets left running may have an adverse effect on septic tanks. Other precautions should be taken.
Open cabinet doors – If a sink is on an outside wall, open vanity or cabinet doors to allow warm air to reach water pipes.
Thaw carefully – Never use an open flame to thaw a frozen pipe. Use hot air from a hair dryer, vacuum cleaner exhaust, heat tape or light bulb.
Locate shut-off valve – Do not wait until a water pipe is broken to find the shut-off valve. While the Water and Sewer Services Department is responding to your emergency call, you will be able to minimize your damage by quickly stopping the flow of water. The City’s plumbing code requires a shut-off valve. This is usually located inside near where the main water line enters the house. It may also be located in the basement, beneath the floor, in the garage or utility room. Check with your builder or plumber to assist in locating the shut-off valve.
For more information about water pipe maintenance, contact Water and Sewer Services at 423-461-1645. For service after business hours or on weekends and holidays, call 423-461-1643.

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