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Protect your pipes from freezing in below zero temperatures

Wind chills are expected to remain below zero with bitterly cold temperatures that can cause pipes to freeze and break, resulting in significant damage to homes and businesses. 

People with plans to be away are reminded to keep the thermostat at 55 degrees or higher and to make sure heat is flowing to rooms with plumbing or water fixtures, like bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms.

Prevent frozen pipes graphic

Follow these additional tips form the Iowa City Water Division to help prevent frozen pipes:  

  • Arrange for someone to check your home or business while you are away 
    Have a friend or neighbor swing in to make sure everything is normal.  
  • Know the location of the water shut-off valve 
    Make sure you communicate to your house or business sitter where the water shut-off valve is located in case a pipe breaks. Most home meters are in the basement, and the valve is located between the wall and the meter.
  • Repair cracks or holes around doors and windows 
    This will help keep cold, winter winds from blowing in and freezing water pipes and meters.
  • Wrap pipes in unheated areas 
    Use heat tape or cover thoroughly with pipe insulation. Be sure to follow manufacturer instructions.
  • Expose plumbing to warmer air 
    Open doors to cabinets that contain pipes, especially those located on the north side of the house or business.
  • If plumbing freezes, try to thaw it naturally 
    Do not apply direct heart. If necessary, use a hair dryer or another source of indirect heat.

If your water pipes break or the meter freezes, call the Water Division’s 24-hour water emergency line at 319-356-5166.  


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Wrapping pipes in the coldest areas is very effective. As well as the hair dryer method if they freeze solid. Good tips.

This is very helpful. I will make sure to keep the thermostat at 55 degrees or higher whenever we leave the house for vacation. This is a very helpful post. Thank you so much for sharing!

Very informative, thanks!

Good information.

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