Your Water and the Winter Season

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Tips to Protect Yourself During the Winter Season

 WINTERIZING YOUR WATER SERVICE

 Do it the right and safe way.

The Village receives numerous inquiries on the proper process to “winterize” a water service. People request to “winterize” their homes for various reasons, such as extended vacations, renovations, vacancy, sale of the home, etc. 

In order to comply with the Village Code and ordinances, here are the steps to properly winterize your water service:

  • Please call Public Works at 847.870.5640 at least 48 hours in advance to schedule a water service shutoff at the b-box.  If Public Works finds any problems with the operation of the b-box, the property owner will be notified.  Sometimes debris or age will make a b-box inoperable.

 

  • After the water service is shutoff by Public Works, you will need to drain the interior plumbing by shutting off the water heater and opening the water heater drain port or by draining the lowest faucet or spigot in the system.  Expect to drain several gallons of water from this spigot so have a bucket handy.  Contact a licensed plumber to properly drain piping, water heater, toilets, and traps to prevent damage from freezing.

 

  • Do not turn off the heat to the property. Lower your thermostats to maintain a minimum temperature to keep pipes from freezing. Contact an HVAC contractor to install a programmable thermostat if needed.  Turning off the heat to a property is not advisable during the winter months as pipes can freeze or worse, burst and cause flooding.

 

The Village Code does not allow a property to be “winterized” by the removal of the water meter. Removal of a water meter is considered tampering with the water system and is prohibited by Village Code.  B-boxes, round-ways or road boxes should only be operated by Public Works.  Improper use of these devices by untrained persons can result in damage, including main breaks or service leaks causing service disruption to the property and others.  Also, fines and fees can be imposed per the Village Code.

Do not use an air compressor to ‘blow out’ the private service piping. Using an air compressor allows grit, oils and other contaminants to enter the private and public water supply posing a potential health risk to you and others who drink the water.  Adding chemicals or antifreeze to your system may contaminate the piping and require expensive cleanup. This practice is not allowed by Village Code, is unsafe, and not sanitary.

Winterizing your property does not relieve you from paying sewer, cross-connection device and refuse flat fees.  These are applicable whether there is water usage or not.  Be safe, be smart – winterize the proper way.

 

PREVENTING FROZEN WATER LINES

If you will be out of town over the winter please have a friend, relative, neighbor or handyman check on your home during the severe cold spells.  Please make sure that the inside water shutoff actually works and that everyone knows where this important valve is located.

If you have a history of frozen water pipes, consider leaving a spigot slowly dripping water as this keeps water circulating in the pipes.  However, you will be charged for the water used so if you run your water run it a rate of about one gallon every five minutes.  Allowing the water to run at a rate of one gallon every five minutes, which is a stream of water about the width of a pencil, is equivalent to approximately 500 gallons per day.

You can wrap any exposed pipes in your home with foam pipe insulation or with heat tape.  You can also turn the temperature up in areas where you have exposed water piping. Do not turn the heat lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit in areas with exposed piping.  All of these items are available at your local plumbing or hardware stores.  If you are not sure ask your plumber or handyman to give you advice.

If your water line freezes; consider calling a licensed plumber.  Improper thawing could cause your pipes to burst, adding to the problem.  Do not use open flames, consider using a heat tape to wrap around your pipes.  A hair dryer, heat tape, heating pad or heat gun may help thaw the line but this can take hours. So be careful and do not leave these items unattended.   If the water lines are frozen for an extended period; you may have an issue with your water heater or boiler, please consult a professional.