Protect People, Pets & Pipes During Cold Weather

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News Release: City of Tallahassee

The City of Tallahassee urges citizens to take precautions as near and below-freezing temperatures enter our area.

To avoid water pipes breaking due to the cold air, customers are advised to run at least one faucet in their home or business at a thin stream. This allows water to flow through the pipes and lowers the risk of broken water lines during freezing conditions. Unlike other liquids, water expands when it freezes. When water pipes freeze, the expanding water can break the pipe, and customers can be left with a thoroughly soaked house when the pipes thaw.

Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs will be trickling water out of spigots in all its parks. Signs should be posted nearby, but if you see water running lightly from a pipe, please do not turn it off. This is intentional.

During periods of colder weather, Your Own Utilities, as well as local plumbing contractors, typically receive calls from customers reporting broken water pipes. When pipes break between the water meter and the home or within the home, the customer is responsible for repairs. Your Own Utilities repairs any damage to pipes between the water main under the street and the meter, or in the main itself, which rarely happens since water runs continuously in the mains.

The City of Tallahassee offers these additional tips during a hard freeze – about 30 degrees (F) or below for more than one hour.

  • Insulate all outside pipes with cloth or a similar material to help prevent freezing. All piping in attics, including those to water heaters, should be protected as well.

  • Check to make sure the cover to your water meter fits tightly. If your pipes do freeze, you can use the valve inside the meter box to shut off all the water to the house, helping to prevent indoor flooding when pipes thaw.

  • If you have a backflow assembly on your water service line, it, too, may freeze with very cold temperatures. Insulate the assembly properly by wrapping or covering the pipe. Do not cover the bottom relief opening on the underside at the middle of the apparatus to avoid creating other flooding problems.

  • Commercial water customers should also wrap any fire lines in their buildings. Disconnect any outside water hoses from spigots, as water trapped inside can freeze and crack the hose.

  • The Tallahassee Fire Department advises residents to be extra careful when using supplemental heating units. Make sure all combustible materials, such as drapes or chairs, are at least three feet away from any heating unit.

  • To reduce the chance of fire, avoid using flammable liquids to start fireplaces and do not leave a fireplace unattended. Most importantly, check your smoke detector to make sure it is working properly.

  • If you are cold outside, you pet is, too. The Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Service Center recommends bringing outside pets indoors during cold snaps, especially at night when temperatures dip to their lowest.

  • The Tallahassee Police Department recommends that you check in on neighbors and family members who may be more susceptible to cold weather conditions, such as the elderly or disabled. If you are unable to reach them, TPD will conduct a welfare check for you. Simply call 891-4200 to request the service.

Due to the cold temperatures expected during the morning on Tuesday and Wednesday, January 7 and 8, the Trousdell Aquatic Center will open at 11:30 a.m., and the Wade Wehunt Pool will open at 6:30 a.m. For more info, contact TAC at 891-4901 or the Wade Wehunt Pool at 891-3985.

The City’s Electric Utility is implementing its freeze protection plans at both City electric generation plants. Extra crews will be on call tonight and tomorrow morning to help ensure any power outages are restored as quickly as possible. In addition, the Electric Utility is asking residents to assist in the event power is lost by turning off electric heat pumps until power is restored (i.e., lights come back on). When power is being restored, the pull of thousands of heat pumps all starting at once can cause a surge that causes the electric circuit to shut back down. Waiting until the lights are back on to turn on the heat pump will help reduce the likelihood of a surge.

If you experience an issue with your utility services, please call 891-4YOU (4968). City crews are always at the ready to restore outages and other service interruptions as quickly as possible.

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