Winter officially begins tomorrow and SUEZ reminds its customers that as freezing temperatures approach during this cold weather season, it is important to prepare water lines in homes and businesses for potential pipe cracks and breaks.

“Now is the time for residents to be proactive and take preventive steps to protect water pipes and meters from fracturing or freezing,” said Jim Mastrokalos, Director of Operations.  “Our crews work around the clock during bitter temperatures, responding to outages, emergencies and repairing water infrastructure leaks within our service territory, but customers should be aware that they are responsible for plumbing on their own properties,” he added.

Mastrokalos said that fluctuating temperatures during the winter months also can cause cracking or breaking pipes because water expands as it freezes and contracts with weather warm-ups. 

To help customers prepare pipes for winter, SUEZ recommends the following to help reduce the risk of costly repairs and inconvenience:

Outside the home

  • Disconnect and drain the garden hose connection. 
  • Close all outside vents, crawl spaces and doors so cold air does not seep inside. 
  • Fix broken windows and seal cracks in the walls.

Inside the home

  • Wrap the meter and water lines subject to freezing in insulation or heat tape which is available at hardware stores.
  • Make sure the shutoff valves on either side of the water meter are working properly. Place a tag on the main shutoff valve and make sure everyone knows where it is and how to use it during an emergency.
  • Check the water meter periodically. Contact SUEZ if you notice any damage.
  • If you have had problems in the past, you may want to keep a trickle of water running from the highest faucet during frigid weather. You will be billed for the water used, but this may help prevent costly plumbing repairs that result from broken pipes.

 If you won’t be home

  • If you’re going away for an extended period, keep a minimum amount of heat on in the house. This will help protect the pipes in case the temperature drops. 

If the pipes freeze

  • If your pipes freeze, it’s important to clear blockages as soon as possible to minimize damage. It may be best to call a licensed plumber.
  • If a water pipe has burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house.
  • Open a nearby faucet slightly so the pipe can drain as it thaws. 
  • Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water. 
  • Never use hot water or a blowtorch on a frozen pipe or water meter.

If residents notice water leaks on their premises or in streets, they should immediately contact the company’s customer service toll-free number at 877-565-1456.