Some residents leave water faucets "cracked" to keep pipes from freezing when the house is empty and the heat is turned down or off. This practice increases the District's operating expenses (and, indirectly, your bill) in three ways: costs of treating water at the plant increase, additional power is required to pump water from the lake to the distribution system, and extra power is required to pump what is now wastewater to the wastewater treatment plant.
A much better method of preventing frozen pipes is the use of a stop&drain valve, which is required on the incoming pipe of every water service. When the valve is in the 'off' position, water is stopped from coming into the house; more importantly, the drain port of the valve empties the pipes in the house so there is nothing to freeze.
Proper installation and use of the stop&drain valve is essential. The valve must be at the low point of the household plumbing (typically in the crawl space or garage) so that all water in the pipes will follow gravity to the valve when it is off'. When changing from 'on' to 'off' (or vice versa), make certain that you rotate the valve completely to the new position (they differ by 90°). If not fully in the 'on' or 'off' position, water may leak from the drain port, wasting water and possibly flooding your garage or crawl space. You can verify that the valve is fully 'on' or fully 'off' by placing your ear next to the operating handle and listening for running water; quiet is good. Click here for a picture of a stop & drain valve and more information on its proper operation.
To prevent water from freezing in your toilets and plumbing traps add propylene glycol antifreeze (also known as 'RV' type); do not use automotive antifreeze, which is corrosive. If you are unsure if your home has a stop&drain valve or are unsure about its proper operation, please call the Operations Office at 530-426-7802; one of the operators will be glad to come to your home.