Mountain Home residents advised to keep water running to avoid frozen pipes

Scott Liles
Baxter Bulletin

With freezing temperatures not expected to leave the Twin Lakes Area until the weekend, area residents are being advised to keep water running in their faucets to hopefully avoid frozen water lines.

The temperature in Mountain Home dropped to minus 7 degrees Fahrenheit early Tuesday, setting a new record low for the third day in a row. Tuesday's expected high temperature was forecast to be 22, with an overnight low of 12 degrees.

Temperatures were forecast to remain below freezing until the weekend. Friday's forecast calls for a high of 33 degrees, with the temperature climbing into the 40s for Saturday and Sunday.

Alma Clark, director of the Mountain Home Water Department, said her office had received more than 25 calls from customers reporting frozen water lines and pipes. 

"They're coming in more this morning than they did yesterday," Clark said Tuesday morning."

As of midday Tuesday, Clark said the city has not had any city-maintained water lines freeze or burst.

Mountain Home residents may report a frozen or ruptured water line by calling (870) 425-5115 during regular business hours. To make a report after the close of business, customers should call the Mountain Home Police Department at (870) 425-6336.

"If you turn on your faucet and you don't have water, then something is probably frozen," Clark said. "If customers feel that it's frozen at the meter, we can come out, turn the water off, pull your meter out and then turn the water back on. If there's water to where the meter should be, then that means its frozen somewhere between the meter and your house."

Customers are responsible for maintaining their own water lines from the water meter to their residence, meaning Tuesday's reports of frozen pipes were were on the residential side. 

"You would need to call a plumber at that point," Clark said. 

Clark said customers should leave the water running in their faucets to hopefully prevent their water lines from freezing.

"If the water isn't moving, then that's where you're going to have trouble," she said.

Customers should leave a small, steady stream of water coming from the faucet, not a steady drip.

"The drip isn't going to help you. You need more movement than that," she said. "You might use a little more water this month, but that's better than a frozen pipe."

Before freezing weather

Freezing temperatures are here to stay until at least Friday, but Twin Lakes Area residents can still apply these tips to make some last-minute adjustments to hopefully avoid frozen pipes:

  • Wrap all exposed pipes located outside or in unheated areas of the home.
  • Remove garden hoses from outside faucets. Insulate outside faucets with Styrofoam covers, rags or paper.
  • Cover vents around your home's foundation.
  • Know where your property owner’s cut-off valve is located and how to use it. Apply oil such as WD-40 to the cut-off valve before operating to prevent the valve from breaking. The valve typically is located adjacent to the water meter box under a metal lid.

In subfreezing weather

These are some things that Twin Lakes Area residents should be doing right now to hopefully avoid a frozen water line:

  • Drip outside faucets 24 hours a day (5 drops a minute). This is not necessary unless temperatures are expected to be 28 degrees or below for at least four hours. (Be sure to turn off the faucets after the threat of freezing weather.)
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls.
  • In unheated garages, shut off water to washing machines. Water softeners should be drained and protected from freezing temperatures.
  • During sustained subfreezing weather events, let water run slowly from inside faucets.
  • Take extra precautions to protect pipes that have frozen in the past.

Renters

Renters and tenants may be responsible for personal property damage caused by broken water pipes during severe weather conditions. Residents should contact property managers or their landlords or maintenance personnel to locate the property owner’s water cutoff valve and find ways to avoid pipe breakage during a freeze.