The Portland Water Bureau teams are getting ready for winter. Maintenance and construction crews are ready to respond to emergencies, including water line failures, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In Portland, water lines tend to break in cold weather. Cold water can weaken the pipes. Cold air can freeze and thaw the ground above a pipe, increasing the stress on a pipe.
Prepare your home’s plumbing for winter
Everyone has a role to play when it comes to preparing for winter. Below are tips for protecting your home’s plumbing from rain, snow, and ice.
Wrap exterior faucets or bibs in insulation if you do not have a separate exterior valve to shut them off. Use molded foam insulation covers, available at hardware stores. Newsprint or rags (covered with plastic wrap) are another option.
Disconnect garden hoses and drain underground irrigation systems.
When freezing weather is forecast, open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors. This allows these pipes to get more heat from inside your home.
If you will be leaving the house for several days, turn your furnace on low to prevent the pipes from freezing.
Let a small drop of water flow when temperatures drop below freezing. Use cold water to avoid the expense of heating the water.
What if a pipe freezes?
Thaw plumbing lines safely with a hair dryer. Once the pipe has thawed, let a little water run out so that it does not freeze again.
Do not open the water meter housing near the sidewalk. This could increase the risk of the water on the meter freezing.
What if a pipe breaks?
Broken pipes can be alarming, but do not call 9-1-1 for a broken pipe.
Turn off your home’s main water shut-off valve, usually located where the water line enters the house – either at the front of your house where you connect your hose, near the basement. water heater or inside the garage. Note that not all homes have main water shutoff valves in addition to the valve in the water meter housing. If you cannot locate the stop in the house, call the Water Bureau’s 24 hour emergency line at 503-823-4874.
Turn off the water heater. Locate the dedicated shutoff valve on the cold water inlet.
Repairing broken pipes on your side of the meter is your responsibility. Contact a plumber for repair work. If you have a leak, keep receipts and contact customer service at 503-823-7770 regarding a leak adjustment. If you are receiving financial assistance, call 503-823-4527 to learn more about plumbing repairs.
Report a major break or experience discoloration
Anyone observing water flowing from streets or sidewalks is encouraged to report the leak to the Water Bureau 24 hour emergency line at 503-823-4874.
Anyone exhibiting discoloration from a main outage can reach the Water Quality Line during business hours at [email protected] and 503-823-7525, or visit this website to resolve water discoloration issues. ‘water: portland.gov/water/discolored water.
For more winter weather resources, visit www.portland.gov/omf/winterweatherservices#toc-protect-plumbing-report-water-main-breaks-and-other-service-impacts.
Source: Portland Water Office