To say January has been busy would be an understatement. Since January 1, crews have repaired more than 190 water main breaks throughout the service area. A typical day for Louisville Water is repairing two to three breaks.
It’s not uncommon to see a rash of water main breaks in bitterly cold weather. As the water temperature dips below 39 degrees, the water inside the underground pipe expands and causes an increase in pressure within the pipe. When the pressure gets too high, the pipe can rupture. Until the water temperature leaving our plant gets closer to 39 degrees, we expect to continue to see a spike in the number of breaks.
In addition to the water main breaks, our crews are focused on repairing any leaks and maintaining the 24,000 public fire hydrants in our service area.
Our Customer Service Center is not receiving the high volume of calls from customers with frozen pipes inside their homes (we received over 1,500 calls last week). Still, when we receive a customer’s report of no water, we investigate by visiting the home or business to inspect our mains and meters. For a majority, the water lines or pipes that freeze are on the customer’s property.
Throughout this stretch of cold weather, we continue to remind customers of tips to minimize the risk and damage from frozen water pipes:
- Locate the water shut-off valve. This is the valve that controls the flow of water into the house. It’s usually located near the hot water heater, in the basement, or in a utility closet. Turning off the water in the event of a burst pipe can minimize the damage. Once you locate the valve, tag it with a waterproof hanger or a ribbon. Louisville Water has free tags for customers at its corporate office.
- Open cabinets under sinks to allow heat to enter
- Cover the vents to crawl spaces
- Insulate the water lines in the house if they are in unheated basements or crawl spaces
- Keep a small, continuous stream of water running from the cold-water faucet (the size of the water stream should be about the size of a pencil)