Protect water lines from freezing
Dangerous low temperatures will be coming to Okmulgee over the next few nights. Below are some tips to help your water lines weather the cold.
• Water pipes are at risk of freezing when temperatures drop below 32 degrees but usually when its 20 degrees or below.
• When temperatures stay that low for more than 6 hours, there is a good chance of pipes bursting causing large water bills and strain on the water system.
In previous years, over 400 homes in Okmulgee had major leaks that required emergency shut-off during winter storms. The combined leaks both in Okmulgee and in the rural districts helped contribute to water shortages. There were homes using/ leaking in excess of 1000 gallons per hour (normal average is 300 gal/day). People excessively running water to avoid freezing also contributed to high water use.
To help avoid costly repairs and water bills try to do the following:
• Close open spaces into your crawlspace. Many of the leaks other years were at homes with wide open crawlspace entrances. Cold wind was blowing directly onto pipes. Also, close crawlspace ventilation ports located around the foundation during the winter.
• Insulate exposed water lines coming from the ground into the home with pipe insulation. Some possible providers locally might be Bomgaars, Tractor Supply, McCoys, Locke’s, and TH Rogers. You can also use heat tape that should automatically turn on when temperatures get too cool. There is some risk of fire from heat tape so ensure it is installed correctly.
• Consider letting a small trickle run from a couple faucets during hours when water use is down (usually night-time). This allows warmer water from the system to flow through. Do not turn on all your faucets and do not turn them on full blast. This would be counterproductive and unnecessary.
• Disconnect hoses from outside faucets and cover outside faucet heads.
• Open cabinet doors and other spaces with water lines that are not directly heated to allow warmer ambient air of home to contact water lines.
• Make sure your heat is not turned off or too low (below 55 degrees) if you will be gone on vacation.
• If you hear the sound of running water at unusual times or when not in use, investigate. If it is a leak, contact the City of Okmulgee if you live within city limits and a technician will turn off your water. There is always someone on call and they can be reached by contacting 918-756-3511. If you live in the county contact your rural water district.