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Frost Damaging Water Service Lines

Frozen Water Pipe
Paul Tessier/Getty Images

Frost Damaging Water Service Lines

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – February 10, 2014 – The Cedar Rapids Water Division is seeing an increase in homes with frozen water services lines outside the residence.  As the frost level has deepened in the soil, homes with shallow water services lines are starting to experience problems.


Cedar Rapids city code requires water service lines to an individual residence be buried between 5.5 and 6 feet deep.  Homes built before 1970 are more likely to not meet this code requirement and have a shallow water service line, making it more susceptible to freezing.


The City of Cedar Rapids is recommending customers with homes older than 1970 leave a faucet dripping slowly to prevent the service line from freezing until there is some relief from these significant below zero temperatures.  The water can be captured in a bucket and used for other purposes around the home like watering plants and washing dishes.


In Cedar Rapids, homeowners are responsible for maintaining their service line from the curb stop to their home.  If a problem occurs on the service line, customers should contact a local certified plumber to repair the problem.


How do you prevent a shallow service line from freezing?

  • If water is flowing through the pipe it is less likely to freeze.  Leaving a faucet slowly dripping will keep water flowing through the pipe. 
  • A bucket can be placed under the dripping faucet so the water can be used in the home to water plants or wash dishes.


What are the signs of a frozen service Line?

  • Water does not flow out of the faucet and the Cedar Rapids Water Division has not notified you of a service disruption.
  • Your neighbors have running water, but you do not.


What do I do if my service line freezes?

  • Call a certified plumber to address the problem.  The plumber may be able to thaw the pipe, but the problem may require the contractor to excavate the service line and replace it.


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