Due to the recent severe cold, the City of Moline Water Division has reissued this consumer alert to help our customers avoid frozen pipes, damaged water meters, and related flooding in homes and businesses.
Customer Tips to Prevent Frozen Water Pipes/Meters
Fill holes in doors, windows, and walls near water meters and pipes. During cold weather weather, a high wind or draft coming from a small opening in a door, window, or wall can freeze a nearby pipe or meter, even though the surrounding room temperature may be 70 F. This is particularly true when the wind chill factor drops below zero.
Be sure heat can circulate around meter and pipe areas. Water meters and pipes in or on outside walls, in an uninsulated cabinet or in an enclosed area can freeze if heat is blocked from circulating through this area. Open cabinet doors to allow heat from the room to warm plumbing pipes and fixtures, if cabinets are located along an outside wall.
Be sure the pipes and meter in any unheated area are protected by heat tape and/or insulation. Check insulation for dampness on a regular basis. Leaks in walls and other areas can saturate the insulation and reduce its effectiveness.
For added protection, it may be necessary to leave a small stream of water, about the size of a lead pencil point, running from faucets where the piping is in the outside wall. Flowing water in a pipe is less likely to freeze than static water in a pipe. This action will affect your water bill. The cost depends on the duration of time that the water runs.
If a home or building is to be left vacant during the winter months, heat should be maintained, if possible. If not, the water should be shut off, meter removed, plumbing system dewatered, and toilets drained. A fee will be assessed for the removal and resetting of the water meter.
If Your Pipes are Frozen:
You may be able to locate the frozen spot on the pipe by looking for frost on the outside of the pipe. It may be possible to thaw a frozen pipe using an electric hair dryer in a cautious manner.
DO NOT USE AN OPEN FLAME TO THAW PIPES, DUE TO THE POTENTIAL FIRE THREAT!
If pipes have been damaged and are leaking inside the home or building, the water can usually be shut off at a valve by the water meter to prevent further damage. It is recommended that property owners identify the location of their water meter and shutoff valve before an emergency occurs.
If for any reason you cannot stop the flow of water from a frozen or broken pipe, call the Water Division's 24-hour emergency service number 309.524.2300. The City will dispatch personnel to turn the water off outside at the curb valve.
The property owner is responsible for repairs to the piping within the home or building. The City will replace frozen or damaged water meters. Customer accounts will be charged for the cost of the replacement water meter and after-hours service call, as applicable. These costs are typically added to the customer’s next water bill.
If the water service is frozen outside, the property owner is responsible to hire a plumbing contractor to thaw out your service between the curb valve and the house. If the pipe is frozen between the water main and the curb valve, the City is responsible for thawing that portion of the service.