Kansas City Board of Public Utilities Offers Cold Weather Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes
(KANSAS CITY, Kan.) — The Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (BPU) reminds homeowners of steps to take to prevent water damage from frozen and burst pipes, which can bring costly plumbing repairs and replacement fees along with headaches and unexpected expense for homeowners.
“We are facing frigid temps across the metro, which can cause pipes in vulnerable areas to freeze and burst, resulting in costly damage,” said David Mehlhaff, BPU’s Chief Communications Officer. “By simply running a pencil-thin stream of water overnight, customers can avoid frozen pipes.” Mehlhaff said doing this during these frigid temps could solely use about two gallons of water an evening, which prices a lot lower than a frozen or burst pipe.
BPU encourages residents to take the following precautions when temperatures are consistently at or below freezing:
- Allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is low compared to the cost to repair a broken pipe. BPU also encourages customers to capture the water for wise water use. The water can be used to water indoor plants and more.
- Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.
- Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by repairing broken windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and eliminating drafts near doors.
- Know the location of your main water shut-off valve. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
- Protect your pipes. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or use electrical heat tracing wire; newspaper or fabric might also work.
If your pipes freeze:
- Shut off the water immediately. Do not attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints.
- Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to a pipe. You can use a hair dryer, space heater or hot water. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended, and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
- Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.
When you are away:
- Have a friend, relative or neighbor regularly check your property to ensure that the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen.
BPU also advises that sub-freezing temperatures can cause aging water mains to break and cause water to cover roadways. If you see a leak, your water service is disrupted, or you experience low pressure, please contact the company’s Water Issues Line at 913-573-9622 to report an emergency.
BPU’s water department was originally created in 1909, and its electric utility was operational in 1912. The purpose of the utility, then and to this day, is to provide the highest quality electric and water services at the lowest possible cost. Today the publicly owned utility serves approximately 65,000 electric and 51,000 water customers, primarily in Wyandotte County, Kansas. The mission of the utility and its employees is “to focus on the needs of our customers, to improve the quality of life in our community while promoting safe, reliable and sustainable utilities.” BPU’s Web site is www.bpu.com.