Protect People, Pets, and Pipes in Cold Weather

News posted Jan. 06, 2017 - 9:00 am
dog in snow

The City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department urges residents to take precautions as near- and below-freezing temperatures are forecasted for our area.

To avoid water pipes breaking due to the cold temperatures, residents are advised to run at least one faucet in their home or business at a thin stream. This allows water to flow through the pipes and lowers the risk of broken water lines during freezing conditions. Unlike other liquids, water expands when it freezes. When water pipes freeze, the expanding water can break the pipe, and customers can be left with a thoroughly soaked house when the pipes thaw.

During periods of cold weather, the City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department typically receives calls from customers reporting broken water pipes. When pipes break between the water meter and the home or within the home, the customer is responsible for repairs. Since the Public Utilities Department operates and maintains the water system for the Raleigh, Garner, Knightdale, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell, and Zebulon service area, it is responsible for repairing any damage in the street and up to the water meter.

To report a Water Main Break call 919-996-3245 to report as an emergency.

The City of Raleigh offers these additional tips on dealing with extremely cold weather hour:

  • Insulate all outside pipes with cloth or a similar material to help prevent freezing.
  • All piping in attics, including those to water heaters, should be protected as well;
  • If you have a backflow assembly on your water service line, it, too, may freeze with very cold temperatures. Insulate the assembly properly by wrapping or covering the pipe. Do not cover the bottom relief opening on the underside at the middle of the apparatus to avoid creating other flooding problems;
  • Commercial water customers should also wrap any fire lines in their buildings. Disconnect any outside water hoses from spigots, as water trapped inside can freeze and crack the hose;
  • The City of Raleigh Fire Department advises residents to be extra careful when using supplemental heating units. Make sure all combustible materials, such as drapes or chairs, are at least three feet away from any heating unit;
  • To reduce the chance of fire, avoid using flammable liquids to start fireplaces and do not leave a fireplace unattended. Most importantly, check your smoke detector to make sure it is working properly;
  • If you are cold outside, your pet is too. If possible, bring outside pets indoors during cold snaps, especially at night when temperatures dip to their lowest; and,
  • The City of Raleigh Police Department recommends that you check in on neighbors and family members who may be more susceptible to cold weather conditions, such as the elderly or disabled.

For more information, contact the City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department at 919-996-3245 or

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