Eau Claire (WQOW) - Water is a basic necessity, so what happens in the winter when you turn the faucet and nothing comes out? Scott Kwick, the utility supervisor of the City of Eau Claire, said, "People should be aware that if they are losing water pressure and or if they're noticing discoloration in the water, those are early signs of freezing."
Since the beginning of this year, 35 homeowners in Eau Claire have found frozen pipes, Kwick said. He said our colder than average weather is pushing that number to pass 2009, which in that year 45 residents fell victim to frozen water pipes. "Sometimes people will leave and they'll go on a vacation and then they'll come home and then discover that their water has frozen up, and that's because they haven't used it for some time and have allowed it to freeze."
A homeowner in Eau Claire said he was out of town for the weekend and arrived home to find his water service not working. "It was well over 24 hours since that water was used. I went to turn on the water, to brush my teeth and wash up before bed, and that's when I realized I didn't have any water."
The City of Eau Claire's Utility Division warns people not to use an external heating source, like a blow torch or hair dryer, to warm up frozen pipes.
Kwick said, "Our recommendation is to use the warm air in your house and maybe circulate it with a fan in order to thaw those pipes."
After Kwick and his crewmen helped put Waterhouse's water service back into work, Kwick advised him to leave his water faucets running at a pencil lead size stream. "He advised me to run the water continually from now until through the winter season. He said the city will send me a letter in the spring when they feel I can shut the water off," Waterhouse said.
The City of Eau Claire's Utility Division is not issuing a city-wide notice to its residents to run water to prevent pipes from freezing. They ask homeowners to do that on an individual basis when the problem occurs.
The city suggests that all homeowners to locate main shut-off valves in their homes so they can be turned off quickly in case a pipe bursts. If you notice a sputtering sound when turning on a faucet, run small amounts of water at a time. Also, you should clear basement drains in case there is a flood.