Prepare Tahoe-Truckee homes to avoid frozen, broken water lines |

Prepare Tahoe-Truckee homes to avoid frozen, broken water lines

Special to the Sun

KINGS BEACH, Calif. — The North Tahoe Public Utility District is excited about the snow this Thanksgiving week, but the cold temperatures forecast to follow the storms mean residents and homeowners need to take precautions to make sure their homes and water lines are prepared.

Below are some smart and simple tips to follow:

• If you know that pipes in your home freeze, insulate and heat tape them to be sure they don’t freeze. Leave them dripping as a last resort.

• Never completely shut the heat off when you are not at home. Also, leave cabinet doors open in places there are pipes to allow air to circulate.

• All homeowners should have a water shut off valve installed in the home that will allow you to completely shut off the water when you will not be home for any length of time. The shut off should also allow the water system in your home to completely drain leaving no water in the pipes.

• Most importantly, make sure your water district has your most current contact phone number or email so we can reach you in the event of a water emergency. Please make sure we can call you to notify you of a water or sewer issue, instead of having to send you a letter! We are a government agency and we never sell your information!

• Finally, if you see water running out of a neighbor’s garage, down a driveway or anywhere else you don’t typically see running water, please call your local water district!


During the winter with no landscape irrigation, domestic (home) water usage usually runs well under 10,000 gallons per month.

In December 2013 and January 2014, a cold spell resulted in 13 properties in the district using between 78,000 and 641,000 gallons of water in a month with a total cumulative water use by those properties of 2.766 million gallons!

This does not include homes with service breaks that resulted in usage between 10,000 and 78,000 gallons. During the winter of 2009-2010, another cold spell resulted in more than 60 homes with service breaks in the 20,000 to 40,000 gallon range with several homes in the 100,000 to 200,000 gallon range.

Please help to conserve water and to save money and reduce the risk of property damage by taking steps to keep pipes from freezing.

More winterization tips are available on the NTPUD’s website —

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