Ice and snow blanketed Beaufort and Jasper counties Wednesday, but so far the Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority has not received calls about burst pipes.
There could be a number of reasons for this, from people being attentive to statements the authority made over the weekend calling for customers to leave their water on to the fact that most pipes in the area are buried deep enough to keep them from freezing, according to BJWSA Deputy General Manager Jeff Boss.
But there is another less optimistic possibility, according to Boss.
“I would expect to see more calls when things thaw and the water starts to flow from the breaks,” Boss said.
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If you try to turn on your faucet and no water comes out, it is likely that your pipes are frozen, said Pamela Flasch, spokeswoman for BJWSA. If your frozen pipes have burst, you will likely be able to tell soon after temperatures rise back above 32 degrees, though it could happen sooner if the burst pipes are in a crawl space or attic.
In a Saturday release, BJWSA advised people to avoid burst pipes by keeping a “pencil-lead-thin stream of water” flowing from faucets.
Leaving your water on at that level will use about a quart per minute, which comes out to less than $2 a day, the authority said. That is a small price to pay to save potentially thousands on repair bills.
You should also leave cabinet doors open to keep pipes under sinks as warm as possible.
Leaving your faucets dripping does not guarentee that your pipes will not burst but it can help, said Flasch. The best way to protect it is with insulation or heating, she said. You can also shut off the water supply to avoid damaging your structure.
In the event that a pipe does break and you are unable to attend to the situation yourself, the authority says they can turn the water off at the meter, but they will charge for the visit and they can’t make any repairs beyond the meter box.
ADDITIONAL STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO AVOID BURST PIPES
• Shut the water off for your entire house at the master shut-off valve.
• Seal off access doors, air vents and cracks to protect exposed pipes.
• Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses
• Insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas.
- Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority