In NYC it is common to experience a frozen water main during the winter months. There are several steps that you should follow if you are concerned about your water main freezing or leaking, and most important you should become familiar with your plumbing system just in case you have an all out failure and a quick fix is required.
The first and strongest suggestion is to keep a small stream of water running on the second floor of your home when you are experiencing continuous days of freezing temperatures. The theory is that moving water will not freeze and if you keep a very small stream of water actively moving in your pipes you will avoid the possibility of pipes freezing.
A secondary issue and concern is your pipes leaking due to freeze or extreme conditions. In some cases there is not much you can do about this and at a minimum you should become aware of potential resolutions to avoid any loss in time if you are without water.
Being that everyone’s property differs from the next it is always suggested to have a licensed plumber evaluate the layout of your plumbing system and point out any areas of concern. There are common scenarios and simple steps you can take to avoid a frozen pipe during winter months.
One example would be if your water main enters the home in a cold crawl space that is not heated. A simple fix would be to simply wrap the pipe with insulation and plastic which may be the difference between your pipes freezing during the winter months.
Another common scenario is when a homeowner attempts to thaw their frozen pipe with a heat gun or blow dryer. This is a bad idea for many reasons and primarily because you may now turn your frozen pipe into a flooded basement as your pipe is now compromised and prone to leaking due to the extreme heat in cold conditions.
There are many additional factors and variables to consider which is why it is always suggested to schedule an on site evaluation to avoid any potential issues in the future.