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City of Altoona Issues Water Service Freezing Advisory

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
David Walter | Director of Public Works

Altoona, Wisconsin.   The City of Altoona is issuing an advisory to all of its utility customers due to the likelihood of frozen water services.

Water services are freezing due to the depth of the frost in the ground.  The result is that water services may freeze at any point between the water main in the street and a customer's home.

Water customers are advised to take all necessary precautions to prevent their services from freezing, thereby avoiding the cost of paying someone to thaw the service pipe.

The best way to avoid freezing is to trickle water from the faucet at the lowest point in your residence. This will prevent freezing in most cases and will prevent the cost of thawing frozen pipes. The City recommends trickling a stream at least the diameter of a pencil lead, to assure freeze up will not occur. Please note, however, the City will not issue credits for use of the trickling water unless you have been put on the City's "trickling list" due to a freezing problem at some time in the past.

Customers may be able to anticipate freezing pipes by paying attention to the water at their fixtures and taking proactive measures to avoid freezing. Signs your service may be freezing include:

  • Unusually cold-water temperature (less than 35 degrees F)
  • Unusually low water flow
  • Discolored water
  • Low water pressure
  • Extremely cold piping
  • Sputtering sound when opening a fixture

If you experience any of the issues noted, please contact the Public Works Department at 715-839-6092 and begin trickling your water as described above immediately.

Customers should also pay particular attention to the following and take appropriate action to prevent freezing:

  • Pipes near broken or open basement windows
  • Unheated crawl spaces and equipment rooms
  • Pipes near the foundation or cracks in the basement wall
  • Pipes near exterior walls in an unheated room
  • Inadequate heating in un-insulated or uncovered outside pit
  • Pipes under kitchen sinks or cupboards

If your pipes do freeze and you know the frozen portion of the pipe is in the house, you may use the hot air from a hair dryer or exhaust from a vacuum cleaner to try to thaw the pipe. You may also install heat tape to prevent future freezing.

If you are unable to determine the exact point where your service is frozen, please contact the City at 715-839-6092. Any costs incurred for thawing service lines will be charged out either to the customer or the City depending on the circumstances.

For further information, please contact the City of Altoona, Department of Public Works at 715-839-6092.

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