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Information from the Altoona Water Utility on how to protect your home's outdoor water supply system

Friday, February 18, 2022
Altoona city staff

ALTOONA, WI - Recently, the Altoona Water Utilities has assisted several customers who were experiencing water consumption issues related to lawn irrigation equipment or outdoor faucets. In each of these instances, it was found that an outdoor water supply system was NOT winterized. One customer alone experienced a loss of over 60,000 gallons of water before the problem was resolved.

How does NOT winterizing cause this problem? When water freezes, it expands. If there is water remaining in the pipe of an outside faucet or lawn irrigation equipment, the water will freeze and expand as it freezes. The expansion of the ice could be great enough to cause a break in a pipe or faucet which could result in thousands of gallons of water wasted and the potential for an expensive repair. Before the outdoor temperature falls below 35°F, it is best to take the following steps to avoid outdoor frozen faucets or lawn irrigation equipment.

How to winterize outdoor faucets in 4-easy steps

  1. Prepare outside faucet - Locate all outside faucets. Disconnect all hoses and drain them. Remove any splitters or other items from each faucet.
  2. Turn off water from shut-off valves - Every faucet should have a shut-off valve inside your home or basement. Locate all shut-off valves for each corresponding faucet and shut the water off in a clockwise direction completely.
  3. Drain exterior faucets - Turn on all faucets to drain any water left in them. If the water continues to flow, check the valve to make sure it's off. Leave the faucet handle turned on throughout the winter.
  4. Insulate any exterior pipes - Further protect your home's plumbing by insulating all exterior pipes with pipe insulation.

How to winterize lawn irrigation system in 4-easy steps

Some of these steps may require specialized tools. It is recommended that you consult with a professional lawn and sprinkler care service company before winterizing.

  1. Shut off the water - locate the main valve for the system and turn it off.
  2. Turn off the timer
  3. Drain the water
  4. Insulate above-ground components

If you have any questions, please contact us at or 715-318-5840. Thank you!