Water Saving Tips

Fall and Winter Weather Water Tips

If you don’t prepare for cold weather, that can mean frozen pipes. Water pipes can burst when standing water freezes and expands. Try these steps to protect your home in the winter.

Avoid Frozen Pipes

  • First, locate the valves inside your house that control the water supply to your outside faucets. Make sure these inside valves are completely turned off.
  • Now, go outside and open your outside faucets, letting any standing water drain out. Keep these outside faucets open all winter so that any water remaining in your pipes can expand without causing pipes to break.
  • Then, caulk around these outside faucets and anywhere water pipes enter your home.
  • Use insulation wrap or tubular pipe covers/sleeves to insulate any unheated areas of your home, such as crawl spaces, basements or attics. These coverings help protect pipes from the cold.

Outdoor

  • When raking leaves, use a broom, rake and shovel to remove the leaves from the street in front of your property and place them into the proper bag. Leaves left on the street can get into the catch basins and over time clog the pipe, causing street flooding.
  • Remove, drain and store garden hoses.
  • Close all foundation vents and fill vent openings with something temporary, such as wood or Styrofoam blocks, which can be removed easily in the spring.

Indoor

  • If you have pipes that are exposed to extremely cold weather, let cold water drip continuously from the faucets. The constant flow of water will help keep the pipe from freezing.
  • When temperatures are below freezing, open cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathrooms. This allows heat to get to these pipes.
  • Find your main water shut-off valve inside your house and label it. If a pipe freezes or bursts, you can limit damage and control your water loss by knowing how to turn off your water quickly.

While You Are Away

  • If you go away for an extended period of time contact DWSD to turn off your water.
  • Keep the thermostat set at 67 degrees or above to help keep pipes from freezing, especially those near outside walls.
  • If you decide to keep the water on while you’re away, shut off the water to washing machines and dishwashers to avoid leaks or broken hoses.
  • While you’re away, have a friend or family member check for broken pipes periodically, especially during lengthy periods of cold weather. Make sure they know how to turn off the shutoff valve in case of an emergency.

Download the one-page flyer to share with your neighbors:

    Use less water and save money with these helpful tips from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department

     

    • Fix dripping taps as soon as you notice them.
    • Replace your faucet aerators and clean them monthly. It will not only help reduce water usage, but also helps provide cleaner drinking water.
    • While you wait for water to heat up at your kitchen and bath faucets, collect the water in a pitcher or bucket to use for your plants.
    • Fix running toilet immediately, otherwise several gallons of water will be wasted every hour.
    • Put a few drops of food coloring into your toilet tank and don't flush for a few hours. When you come back to your toilet, if there is colored water in your toilet bowl then you have a leak. Call a licensed plumber if you don't know how to fix it.
    • Turn off your faucet while brushing your teeth and shaving.
    • Only use one glass for drinking water per day. This will reduce the number of glasses to wash and will save water.
    • Don’t rinse dishes with running water. Use one tub or basin to wash and the other to rinse.
    • Use a pitcher or clean gallon jug to store water in your refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run every time you want a cold glass of water.
    • Match the amount of water with the load in your washing machine.
    • Succulents are popular house plants. Choose them instead of thirstier house plants or fresh cut flowers.
    • Regularly check all your taps and pipes for leaks.
    • Wash your car using a bucket instead of a running hose.
    • Time your shower to be five minutes or less.
    • Bathe small children together to save water.
    • Monitor water usage closely as this can show new leaks or help you alter your habits to reduce water use. You can view your real-time water usage through the DWSD Customer Care Portal.
    • Soak fruits and vegetables in a tub to clean them at the same time rather than running each item under your faucet.
    • Check the weather forecast before watering your lawn – you may not have to water that day at all.
    • Insulate hot water pipes to save time waiting for water to heat up.
    • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean outdoor areas, such as driveways, sidewalks and exterior walls.
    • If you are a low-income household, you may qualify for WRAP, the Water Residential Assistance Program, which includes minor home plumbing repairs to help you eliminate unnecessary water usage and reduce your monthly bill.