Consider Steps to Protect Your Pipes During Extreme Cold

Published on January 15, 2024

Current forecasts indicate that temperatures will remain below freezing for up to a week with low temperatures approaching or below zero. Private water lines in unheated basements or crawl spaces and/or private water lines placed within exterior wall cavities may experience freezing. Private water lines that freeze will often burst once thawed out.

The City of Kalamazoo reminds everyone that frozen private water lines, burst private water lines and the associated damage from frozen and burst private water lines are the responsibility of the building owner. Private water lines and property damage resulting from frozen or burst private water lines are the responsibility of the homeowner or building owner.

Customers may want to take precautions to prevent private water lines from freezing or bursting. The following actions may help to reduce the risk of a private water line freezing or bursting:

  • Replace missing or broken basement windows to retain heat.
  • Board up or place insulation in any gaps in the foundation or walls including broken or missing windows.
  • Insulate pipes with pipe insulation.
  • Heat basement areas to at least 40 degrees.
  • Open cabinets and allow warm room air to circulate around pipes.
  • Use fans to direct warm room air to colder areas.
  • Use UL listed space heaters in accordance with manufacturers recommended uses and instructions.
  • Never use an extension cord rated below the Circuit Breaker rating for the circuit it is plugged into.
  • Run the cold water at a pencil lead diameter flow from the kitchen faucet or the faucet that is prone to freeze. Customers are responsible for all water usage; no bill credits will be issued for private water line freeze protection water usage.
  • If your private water pipes do freeze, open all cold faucets and contact a private plumber immediately. If you are unable to turn off your main water source, call 311 or 337-8000 (outside City limits).

Help with Overdue Bills

The Community Action Agency of SW Michigan can help low-income households pay overdue utility bills. Call 211 or 1-877-422-2726 for more information and to schedule an appointment. You'll need IDs for everyone in the home over 18, Social Security Cards for everyone in the home, your food stamp determination letter (if applicable), proof of all household income for the past 30 days, and a copy of your water bill.

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