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Cold Weather and Snow Storm Preparation

Release Date: January 03, 2018

Preparing for cold weather is very important, can save you money and prevent possible damage.
We also remind you that hydrants near your property must be kept clear of snow and vehicles.  Town water staff will be dispatched to clear fire hydrants after a snow storm but this may take several days to clear out over 1,800 hydrants in the Town of Cortlandt.  Every second counts when a major fire occurs.  The fire department needs to be able to access the hydrant immediately upon arrival.


Before the onset of cold weather:
  • Drain or blow out water from water sprinkler systems.
  • Turn off all hose bibs from their interior shutoffs.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in areas of concern should be insulated. Make sure to keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage area. 
  • In uncertain areas consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar materials on exposed water pipes. 
Preventing Frozen Pipes (Find Your Shutoff):
  • Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, water sprinkler lines, water supply pipes in unheated interior areas such as basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
  • We recommend that every member of a household know where the water shut-off valve is in the house and how to use it in case pipes freeze and break. The water shut-off valve is most likely where water service enters a home through the foundation prior to the water meter. Residents should also have a good understanding of where their Town shutoff and/or meter pits are located on their property.  
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip (at a minimal amount) from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe, even at a trickle, helps prevent frozen pipes.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.
To Thaw Frozen Pipes:
  • If your house or basement is flooding turn off the main water valve in your home and call a plumber.  If a interior valve cannot be found or does not operate contact the Town Water Division 24hr line at (914) 734-1026 to have Town staff respond to shut main line shutoff if possible.
  • Keep the faucets open. As you treat the frozen pipes and they begin to melt, water will begin to flow through the system. Running water will help clear the frozen blockage within the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, electric hair dryer.  Other means are available for thawing but should be performed by a licensed plumber.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. Check all other faucets in your home to make sure there are no other possible frozen areas.