If you’ve not already prepped your pipes and plants for winter, recent chilly temperatures are a good reminder. Exposed pipes can freeze and burst when the air temperature falls below freezing (32 degrees F). Follow these tips to help protect your home and property and our water supply:
- Turn off your irrigation controller now that the rainy season has begun. With cooler temperatures and shorter days, plants don’t need much water this time of year. They can survive long breaks between rainstorms because they are in their slow growth, or dormant, phase during the winter. (Don’t let this happen to you!)
- Insulate exposed pipes with foam insulation and protect backflow devices with backflow device blankets. These materials are available at your local hardware store or irrigation supply house.
- If you don’t have these materials on hand, use old towels, blankets or burlap to wrap around exposed pipes and backflow devices. Cover with plastic to keep the material dry and secure with twine, wire or duct tape.
- Depending on how well your home is insulated, you also may need to insulate water pipes in the attic and basement.
- If your pipes do freeze, try to turn on the water slowly. The running water will melt the ice. Or, slowly pour lukewarm water on them so they thaw gradually. Do not pour boiling water on frozen pipes as they can burst. Once thawed, take the opportunity to insulate them against further freezing.
- If freezing weather is expected, protect frost-tender plants by creating a tent using tree stakes covered with a sheet, blanket or tarp. Take care that the tent is not touching the plants. If necessary, provide extra warmth for sensitive tropical plants by placing a low-wattage oven or refrigerator light bulb under the tent. Make certain that the extension cord is rated for outdoor usage.
- If frostbite occurs on foliage, do not prune the damaged plant until the frost season is over. The damaged parts of the plant will protect the leaves underneath. In spring, prune back to healthy tissue.
- Remember to mulch! Mulch will act as a blanket to protect the root systems of your plants.
If your water pipes do freeze and burst this winter, you can call MMWD at 945-1500 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week to report the problem. MMWD will send a representative to turn off the water so you can make the necessary repairs.