Winter Tips for the Water System - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Winter Tips for the Water System


With continued very cold weather and the potential for more snow, City of La Crosse residents are reminded of possible problems related to the water system.

The water meter and interior piping serving your home can freeze and burst if they are not protected.  Basements, cellars and crawl spaces should be adequately heated to protect interior plumbing.  Eliminate drafts.  Any opening to the outside should be closed and properly insulated to eliminate the flow of cold air and to prevent freezing and damage to the water meter and piping.  Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets.  Repair broken windows, checks doors, and insulate areas that allow cold air to enter.

Where the meter and interior piping are located near outside walls or foundations, insulation should be installed to prevent freezing.  If insulation will not provide adequate protection, wrap pipes with heat tape or heat cables.  These products plug into power outlets and generate warmth to prevent freezing.  Purchase products that are UL listed or approved by a similar independent testing agency, and be sure to install these items following manufacturers' instructions.  Unapproved or improperly installed products can result in fires.  Inspect heat tape or cable for wear and replace if necessary.

Remove hoses from outside faucets and make sure water is turned off.

If you believe interior pipes have frozen, turn off the water at the main valve for your home and call a plumber.  You may want to try a hair dryer to portable heater to attempt to open the frozen pipe but stay alert for potential electric shocks when standing water is present.  NEVER TRY TO THAW A PIPE WITH A TORCH OR OPEN FLAME.

If you plan to be away from home for several days, keep the thermometer set at 55 degrees of higher.  Have a friend check your house periodically to make sure the heat stays on to prevent pipes from freezing.  For extended time away, you may want to consider shutting-off and draining the water system in your home, or having the water shut-off, the meter removed, and the interior plumbing drained and winterized.

Keep an eye out in your neighborhood for vacant properties that might be susceptible to freezing problems.  Contact the Water Utility if you observe or suspect a problem.

City residents are also asked to keep an eye on fire hydrants near their properties, and to make sure the hydrants are clear of snow and accessible to the Fire Department in the event of emergencies.

Please contact the La Crosse Water Utility (608/789-7536) with any questions.


Press release written and provided by the City of La Crosse

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