January 11, 2010

UPDATE – Be Patient And Wait For Frozen Pipes To Thaw

Hillsborough County Water Resource Services (WRS) has received more than 300 phone calls this morning from customers whose water pipes are frozen.

The reports are coming from across the county, but appear to be most numerous in the Valrico, Brandon, Northdale and Westchase areas.

The only pipeline break at this time is on Metheny Circle, near Wilsky Boulevard and Hanley Road in the Town ‘N Country area. A leak in the 4-inch line does not appear to be weather-related and repairs are affecting about 20 homes.

With at least two more nights of freezing or near-freezing temperatures expected in this cold snap, WRS offers the following tips:

  • Protect pipes, especially if they are exposed or the house or building insulation is insufficient. Look for where the water service enters the structure, and use an old blanket or material available from a home improvement store to insulate the pipe if it is exposed.
  • Homes and buildings with crawl spaces are particularly susceptible to wind and freezing temperatures, so outdoor pipes should be protected from the elements.
  • Secure water meter covers so the meter and surrounding pipes are not exposed.
  • Insulate or cover exposed backflow prevention devices on fire lines and irrigation systems.
  • Disconnect any outside water hoses from spigots, as water trapped inside can freeze and crack the hose.

Customers whose pipes are frozen are urged to be patient and wait a few hours for temperatures to warm and the pipes to thaw. Never use an open flame to thaw out a pipe.

If a pipe does burst, turn off the water supply by using the home’s shut-off valve, typically located under a sink or just outside the structure. If you are unable to shut off the water and are a WRS customer, immediately call Customer Service, 813-272-6680, or after regular business hours, 813-744-5600.

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