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Posted on: January 16, 2024

Tips for keeping your water pipes safe in freezing weather

A picture of an outdoor water faucet.

With below-freezing temperatures forecasted for tonight and tomorrow, here are some precautions the City of Fort Walton Beach recommends residents take to protect their pipes and plumbing systems.

  • Drip inside faucets about 5 drips per minute at the faucet location furthest from where the water comes into the house.
  • Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses.
  • If a washing machine is in an unheated room such as a garage, disconnect both the hot and cold water lines. Place both in the drainpipe behind the washing machine. Drip both faucets at about 5 drips per minute.
  • Wrap any exposed pipes and backflow preventer valves located outside or in unheated areas.*A picture of a backflow preventer valve
  • Know the locations of water shutoff valves.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks.
  • If you have a lawn sprinkler pump, drain it and turn off your irrigation system.

*Due to freezing temperatures, business owners and tenants may experience a disruption of water service caused by frozen backflow preventers. Most backflows are above ground and susceptible to freezing without proper insulation. Backflow prevention devices are usually located on the customer’s side next to the city water meter.

Upon opening your business, if you do not have running water, please contact the City at (850) 833-9613 to report the outage. If the backflow device is frozen, please allow it to thaw and inspect it for cracks and leaks. Ice expansion from the prolonged freeze could result in cracked pipes or valves, which will not be readily visible until the ice melts.

If a leak is discovered, the property owner will need to contact a plumber as the backflow device is the responsibility of the property owner. City crews can assist in determining the issue but cannot repair or replace backflow devices.

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