GLENS FALLS — The Glens Falls Water and Sewer Department is reminding people to take some extra precautions with their water lines during this extremely cold stretch of weather.
Among the recommendations is to run a trickle of water overnight to keep the pipes from freezing, especially if the pipes have frozen in the past. The water can be captured to reuse to water indoor plants and for other purposes.
Also, people should repair broken windows, plug holes, insulate walls, close off crawl spaces and eliminate drafts near doors to prevent cold air from seeping in, according to a news release.
City Engineer Steve Gurzler said there have not been too many issues so far with the extremely cold weather. There was break on Christmas Eve in an 8-inch water main on East Street off Haskell Avenue. Gurzler said few customers were affected and the line was fixed that same day. There were also a couple of residents with frozen pipes in their homes.
“We’ve had some problems where people’s interior plumbing has been freezing or their meter has frozen in the basement,” he said.
One person’s water meter froze simply because they did not shut their basement door all the way, according to Gurzler. That costs about $75 to fix.
“Make sure you shut the door. If you have broken window in your basement ... at least tape it up,” he said.
Gurzler said he wanted to issue the advisory to head off potential problems, such as the ones that occurred during the last prolonged cold snap in the winter of 2014-15.
“We had over 70 frozen water services in the city. We had about 18 water main breaks,” he said.
If the sink or wash basin is on an outside wall, people should open cabinet doors to warmer room temperatures to prevent them from freezing.
The department is also recommending that people know the location of their main water shut-off valve, wrap exposed pipes with insulation or have a contractor install electrical heat tracing wire and keep doors shut in an attached garage.
If pipes do freeze, the city recommends shutting off the water before attempting to thaw the pipes because the freezing can cause unseen cracks in pipes or joint. People should use a hair dryer, heat gun, space heater or hot water to thaw the pipes. They should not use propane tanks or open flames and should not leave space heaters unattended. They should avoid kerosene heaters.
After the pipes have thawed, the water should be turned back on slowly to check for cracks and leaks.
If people have no water at any faucet, the water service may be frozen, and residents should call the Water and Sewer Department emergency number at 518-761-3857. If people are going to be away for an extended period, they should have someone check the property. People can also purchase a freeze alarm for less than $100, which will call a phone number if the heat fails.
In addition to issuing this advisory, Gurzler said the city contacted those residents who had an issue with their plumbing during the last cold spell.
City crews are also busy plowing to make sure they maintain access to the reservoirs, according to Gurzler.
He requested that residents shovel out any fire hydrants that are near their houses.
“That’s a great help to us because we can’t get to them all immediately,” he said.