Don’t leave your waterpipes out in the cold
By Kathy Caldwell, MOC Water Quality Technician
With the cold weather on its way, the City of Redmond Water Department would like to remind our customers about the importance of protecting your water pipes from freezing.
Many homes in our area have the main supply pipe enter through the garage. The most common problems with freezing and breaking pipes occur within the garage area. The garage is usually where the main water shut off is located for your home. This is an area where freezing is common. If possible, keep some heat on in the area. Pipe insulation, heat tape and faucet covers can also be used to protect your plumbing. These items are available at most hardware stores.
Other concerns in newer home garages are the fire suppression lines and tankless hot water tank systems. All of these water lines must be kept at a temperature above freezing to avoid problems. If you leave your home unattended when taking a holiday trip, it is especially important not to turn the heat down too low. Broken lines are bad enough, but can cause serious damage if water runs for a long period of time before anyone notices.
If the water line freezes, it is possible to thaw the pipe without damage. First, make sure you know how to turn the water off at the meter outside in case of trouble. With a tap open in the house, so the water can move, apply heat slowly to the frozen area with a hair dryer. Never use a torch or open flame. This method can heat the pipe too quickly and will greatly increase the chance of the pipe bursting. Even more important, if a fire starts, there is no water for extinguishing.
If you have any questions, or would like City staff to show you how to turn your water or fire system off in case of an emergency, please call water operations at 425-556-5846.
They save energy too! Check out the up to date list of qualifying washers at the Cascade Water Alliance www.cascadewater.org. Don’t forget to check other water and energy saving opportunities at www.pse.com.
Testing for toilet leaks
Remove the tank lid – don’t worry, this water is clean until it enters the bowl. Add a toilet test strip or a toilet test tablet into the toilet tank and wait about 30 minutes – during the wait, don’t flush the toilet. After 30 minutes, look in the bowl. If you see colored water, you have a leak. If the water is clear, water is not leaking from the tank to the bowl. Toilet leaks can account for a daily water loss of 200 or more gallons per day.
A leaking faucet is often the result of a worn or bad rubber washer. The washer on a sink is typically located under the handle. A washer is relatively easy to replace – if you have the right tools. It does require shutting off the water under the faucet and removing the handle. Local home centers can provide instruction on faucet repairs – or check the internet under “repairing leaky faucets”, such as www.h2ouse.org.
School and Teacher Resources
Take a virtual tour of the Tolt Watershed -
the source of 65 % of Redmond’s drinking water.
Or go to www.epa.gov/epawaste/education/teens/index.htm for more water information and games.