Cold Weather Tips

Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing This Winter


The below freezing temperatures of the last several weeks has increased the frost depth in some areas of 24" to 30". The number of frozen water lines and broken mains and services have also increased.

Citizens should be aware that pipes and utility meters can freeze when the temperature remains below 25 degrees for extended periods of time. The City of Bay City Water Department offers the following tips to help protect water lines during cold weather snaps:
  • Let a thin stream of cold water run from a faucet. The stream should be a continuous flow, about the thickness of a pencil. This water can be caught in a bucket or pail to be recycled later as laundry or dish water.
  • Be sure pipes in unheated parts of your home or crawl space are insulated, many hardware stores carry foam insulation for this purpose.
  • Leave interior cupboard doors under sinks open, especially if the sink piping is adjacent to an exterior wall.
  • Plug up drafty cracks and repair broken window panes that allow cold air inside where pipes are located.
  • If your pipe is frozen, gently warm it with hot air from a blow dryer at the point where it enters your house.
  • Be sure you know the location of the water shut-off valve in your home. Check it periodically to ensure it works properly.
  • Shut off and drain pipes leading to outside faucets.
    • If you lose water service in one or more areas of the building check to see if you can isolate the frozen location. Common areas which freeze first are piping located adjacent to exterior walls or where the water service enters your home through the foundation. Apply heat to the suspected section of exposed pipe with one of the following preferred methods.
  • An electric hair dryer, carpet sweeper exhaust or a light bulb in the area of the freeze.
  • Heat tape can be used with care taken to install according to manufacturers specifications.
  • Never use anti-freeze to thaw a pipe. The Chemicals could contaminate the water supply.
Note: The use of any open flame in the home or in a confined space is not recommended. A potential fire hazard and the risk of combustible fumes exists.

Contact a Plumber
If you are unable to regain service you may want to contact a plumber.

Maintaining Lines & Who Is Responsible
The City of Bay City maintains underground water lines from the water main to the curb stop near the property line. Water lines running from the curb stop to the house, as well as internal plumbing, are the responsibility of the property owner.

For water emergencies in Bay City please call 989-894-8321.

The cold weather tips provided above are only suggestions to assist you. The City of Bay City does not account for or take responsibility for the customers piping for the above suggestions.