Utility Department

Seasonal Tips

Winter Tips and Warm-Weather Comments
Warm weather can be a good time to evaluate the potential for problems when cold weather returns, and to make improvements.

Preventing Water Pipes from Freezing
Thawing Frozen Pipes
Unattended Homes
Loss of Heat
Hydrant Safety

Preventing Water Pipes From Freezing
Minimum heat (above 32 degrees Fahrenheit) must be provided to all basement and other areas where interior water pipes and meters are located.

Check to be sure that there are no water pipes near a broken window; an open basement door; a cracked basement foundation; or an uninsulated floor joist, sill, or other exposed area that might allow a pipe to be in contact with below-freezing temperatures long enough for the water in the pipe to freeze. If inspection finds such problems, be sure repairs are made and problem situations remedied. If a cabinet (such as a below-sink cabinet) encloses plumbing on an outside wall, leave the cupboard door open to let warm air circulate around the pipes.

Frozen Water Service Line: If the water service line to your property has frozen in the past, call the Village of Pleasant Prairie Utility Department (262-694-1403) for suggestions on how to help prevent a recurrence in the current weather and in the future.

Thawing Frozen Pipes
If an interior water pipe should freeze and there's no standing water in the area, shut off the building's water supply at the shut-off valve (see below), then direct hot air from a hair dryer, or apply electrical heat tape or a heating pad to the section of pipe that is blocked by ice, or place a small table lamp nearby. Don't use a torch or other open flame.

If a pipe or connection has been damaged, water has leaked out, or there is pooled water in the area, draw a bucket of water from the tap, then shut off the building's water supply. Heat some of the water on the stove or in the microwave, soak a towel in it and wrap the towel around the pipe, repeating until the section of pipe stays relatively warm. Don't use an electrical appliance or lamp where there has been standing water or leaking pipe.

The shut-off valve to the building plumbing should be used to shut off the water supply and avoid flow of water from any part of pipe damaged by frozen water. Shut-off valves are normally located on either side of the water meter. It's a good idea to operate these valves routinely to keep them functional. Some property owners operate the shut-off valves at the time daylight savings time goes into or out of effect, at the same time they check smoke-detector batteries (or put up storm windows/screens or other seasonal chores).

After thawing the frozen pipe, turn the water back on - slowly. If the pipe itself wasn't damaged, make changes so that the freezing doesn't happen again. If the pipe was damaged, turn the water off again and get permanent repairs made.

Unattended Homes
If you are leaving your home unattended:
  • Maintain above-freezing heat in all areas so pipes don't freeze. This usually requires leaving the thermostat set at or above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Open doors of under-sink cabinets or other enclosed areas to keep warmer air around water lines.
  • Turn off the water heater. If it is electric, turn it off completely. If it is gas, turn the controls to pilot.
  • Unplug the water softener so that it won't regenerate.
  • If you do not have hot water or steam heat, turn the water off at the meter valve.
  • If you have shut off your water, open the hot and cold faucets in the kitchen sink to drain the system.
  • Have a trusted friend check your vacant home periodically.

Loss of Heat
If your home or business will be without minimum heat for any reason, contact the Village of Pleasant Prairie Utility Department (262-694-1403) for suggestions.

Hydrant Safety
For the safety of your fellow neighbors, please keep fire hydrants clear of snow/brush a minimum radius of five feet so they can be seen by emergency personal. If you know of a neighbor who has a hydrant on their property and are unable to shovel it out or trim it, please lend a hand. Early response for the fire-fighters is paramount to protecting life and property in your neighborhood. If the Fire Department is delayed in response because they have to find/dig out a hydrant, it could have a critical effect.