How do I prevent my pipes from freezing?
How can I thaw frozen pipes?
- Keep a trickle of water running from the faucets.
- Wrap uninsulated pipes with newspaper, heat tape, foam, or self-adhesive insulating tape.
- Keep doors ajar between heated and unheated rooms.
- Shut off the water at the main shutoff valve and open the faucet nearest to the frozen pipe so it can drain as it thaws.
- Use one of the following methods to gradually warm the frozen pipe. Be sure to work from the faucet toward the iced-up area.
- Use the warm air from a hair dryer to gently defrost the pipe.
- A heat lamp can be used for pipes behind walls, floors, or ceilings. Beam a heat lamp 8 or more inches from the surface. Use caution! If no other method is available, wrap the pipe in rags and pour hot water on it.
Who is responsible for fixing leaks?
The City is responsible for leaks from the water main up to and including the water meter. Any leaks located between the meter and the home or building are the owner's responsibility.
How do I check for a leak?
Make sure no water is being used inside or outside the house.
Locate your water meter. It is usually found in the ground near the end of your driveway between your house and your neighbor’s house. If you have any trouble locating or reading your meter, contact us.
Check and record the current meter reading. Wait about 30 minutes (if possible, overnight is better). Remember: Do not use any water while you are waiting!
Read the water meter again. If the reading has changed, then you have a leak that requires immediate attention.
There is also a sweeping hand/triangle on many meters which moves when water is flowing though the meter. If this hand/triangle is moving when no one is using water, it's a good indicator there is a leak.
Next, locate the home’s main shut-off valve and shut-off the water at that valve (normally located in the basement or garage, directly behind an outdoor faucet; or outside, below an outdoor faucet).
Repeat steps 2 & 3. If the reading has changed, you have a leak in the underground water pipe between the meter and the house. If the reading is the same, there is a leak inside the home.
Back to top
How can I locate a leak?
- The sound of running water helps. If you hear it, follow it to its source.
- If water is staining the ceiling or dripping down, the leak is probably directly above.
- Occasionally, water may travel along a joist and then stain or drip at a point some distance from the leak.
- Any wall stain is likely to be below the actual location of the leak and you’ll probably need to remove part of the wall to find it.
- Without the sound of running water and without drips or stains as evidence, leaks are more difficult to find. Using a flashlight, check all the pipes in the basement or in the crawl space.
- Most outside leaks occur at connections. One is at the meter and the other is near the point where the line enters the home or building. Sometimes the line leaks between these connections. Look for a wet or soft spot in your landscaping or near the driveway.
Should I hire a plumber or do it myself?
You can save a lot on the cost of a plumbing repair if you do it yourself. But, is it worth it? Clearly, changing a 15-cent faucet washer yourself beats paying a plumber for a $75 service call. In other situations, the choice may not be as clear. Before you tackle the large jobs yourself, consider the following:
- Tools and equipment required to complete the job.
- Building codes and permits.
- Your skills and level of experience.
- Cost of materials. In some cases it is prudent to hire a plumber.
Remember to get a few estimates and select a plumber who is licensed and bonded.
How often is my meter read?
Residential meter - Every 2 months
Commercial meter - Monthly
Is there fluoride in my water?
Yes. A small amount occurs naturally and a little more is added to achieve the optimum level of 0.7-0.8 ppm (part per million).
Back to top
What’s in my water? Is it safe to drink?
Redmond’s drinking water meets or exceeds all federal, state and local health standards. Our water is tested daily throughout the City to assure safety.
But, there is much more to good drinking water than simple H2O. As the universal solvent, water dissolves and takes on traces of whatever it comes in contact with, for example, minerals. There is no such thing as pure water in nature; and if there were, it wouldn’t taste very good!
Do I need a water filter in my home?
For reasons of safety, no. American municipal drinking water is the safest in the world. Some people, however, object to the taste of chlorine in their water. In that case, a well maintained NSF approved charcoal filter can help.
Why is there chlorine in the water?
Chlorine is a disinfectant that acts as 'health insurance' against the possible occurrence of disease-causing organisms called pathogens. If this type of contaminant were present in the water, chlorine would kill it. Chlorine dosages in Redmond's drinking water are very low, usually between 0.2 ppm and 1.2 ppm.
Where does my water come from?
Residents on the east side of the Sammamish River drink mostly well water pumped from aquifers, also referred to as groundwater.
Residents on the west side of the Sammamish River drink water from Seattle’s Tolt Reservoir, over 20 miles away in the Cascade Mountains east of Duvall.
Do I have hard or soft water?
People on the groundwater system have medium-hard water, about 90 mg/l (milligrams per liter) as CaCO3 (calcium carbonate), or about 6 grains per gallon. Hardness in water comes from minerals like calcium and magnesium.
Tolt Reservoir water is very soft; about 20 mg/l as CaCO3 or 1.2 grains per gallon. Soap easily lathers with soft water; hard water is “harder” to lather.
Why does my water sometimes have an odd taste and other times it doesn’t?
One reason might be that when water sits in pipes overnight or for a few days it will warm to room temperature. After sitting for a period of time, the chlorine in the water reacts to the interior pipe material. The water might taste musty, stale or like medicine.
Another common reason is leaving your garden hose turned on and under pressure. If you do this for too long, you’ll soon be tasting garden hose at your kitchen tap!
To make the water taste fresh again, flush your cold water tap until it starts to get colder, usually about 1 minute. Now you have fresh cold water from the water main.
If your water continues to taste odd, call us.
Back to top