frozen pipes

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COLUMBIA – This season’s frigid temperatures mean a rise in frozen pipes around the city.

Lucia Bourgeois, communications specialist for Columbia Water and Light, said “On average we usually have between one and two every one or two weeks. This winter we have seen as many as 6 in one day. We didn’t have the same kind of cold as we did last year.”

She said there has been 40 or so water main issues in the city this year.

Even though the weather is warming up, the city of Columbia and local property managers are urging residents to be aware of frozen pipes.

Property manager for Callahan and Galloway, Laurie Overweather, said of the 500 properties they manage, most of them are older homes. She said they remain proactive in reminding residents how to prevent problems.

“For some reason a tenant's door didn’t shut all the way, probably because of the wind, leaving the door barely opened caused the pipes to freeze in the common area. Once they got warm they burst,” Overweather said.

There is a difference between the city’s water mains and service pipes for your home.

“Water mains are the pipes that run underneath the streets and sidewalks, they are connected to our three different water towers and they actually bring water to the supply lines and the supply lines are where you are getting the water in your home for,” Bourgeois said.

You can’t prevent water mains from breaking, but you can take steps to make sure pipes in your home do not break.

The city suggests you:

  • Leave a faucet run at a fast drip. Moving water will transfer heat from the ground to the pipe helping to prevent freezing.
  • If you have plumbing running through unheated areas, open cabinet doors to allow heat to circulate
  • Temporarily keep the thermostat set at the same temperature during the day at night
  • If you will be away from your home for a long time, set the thermostat to at least 60 degrees
  • Check to see if crawl spaces are secure
  • Keep garage door closed
  • Check that the lid for your water meter pit is sealed