Belding residents asked to run water to fend off freezing pipes

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 10:27 am on Tuesday, February 25, 2014

BELDING — With another blast of arctic-like freezing temperatures expected to hover around the area for a few more days, the city of Belding is asking residents to take measures to avoid the possibility of frozen pipes.

Belding City Manager Meg Mullendore said she is asking all residents to run a stream of water in their homes the width of a toothpick, as well as open all cupboard doors below sinks, in order to prevent pipes from freezing.

Mullendore said the projected “frost line,” the level of depth at which pipes can begin to freeze, could reach as far as five feet deep.

“When we have that situation, if we get frozen service lines, it will result in city main lines freezing,” she said. “We’ve got to keep the water going. Please keep a running stream of water in all sinks that face exterior walls in homes and keep cupboards open to allow warm air to reach the pipes below the sink.”

Mullendore said the city will reimburse residents on their water bills using a percentage to be calculated at a later date once the winter months have ended.

“We’ll discount the water bills,” she said. “The running stream doesn’t need to be anything larger than a toothpick-sized stream.”

Mullendore said 15 residences in Belding are currently dealing with frozen pipes, and likely won’t see those pipes thaw until as early as April.

Mullendore is hoping that by residents taking precautions by running a stream of water in their homes, the number of homes affected will not continue to grow.

“If people wait, they are risking being too late and having frozen pipes and a frozen service line,” she said. “If their water is not moving, that’s when the frost becomes a big issue.”

Mullendore said once pipes freeze, the frost can continue down a service line and eventually reach a city main line.

The average city main line is buried in the ground anywhere from six to eight feet deep, making the risk of a city main line freezing greater as the frost line reaches deeper depths.

“The only way to circumvent that is to have a small stream going,” she said.

Mullendore said any pipes that are located below areas where snow has been removed, such as sidewalks and driveways, are the most at risk.

“Those pipes are at greater risk, simply because they don’t have that insulation from the snow,” she said.

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