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Posted on: October 12, 2021

Be Water Wise- Winterize

You Never Thaw It ComingFrozen irrigation fountain

Have you ever accidentally left a soda in the freezer? There’s that moment when you open it up, you see the can distorted and bloated, perhaps burst, and oozing a white, icy puddle. That’s nothing compared to the moment you find that your irrigation, or worse yet, the pipes in your home have frozen and burst.

Freezing water expands by 9 percent, enough to break plastic, copper and even steel. Once thawed, a one-eighth-inch split can gush 250 gallons a day, ruining tile and carpet, shorting electrical appliances and destroying furniture.

The most important thing to know is turn off your irrigation no later than November 1st and turn off your stop and waste drain valve any time you’ll be away for more than a day in the winter. Complete details on winterization and a printable brochure can be found here.

General Tips

  1. Turn off your stop and waste drain valve
    • Your stop and waste drain must be turned clockwise until snug, usually about a quarter turn.
    • If it turns more than that, or doesn’t feel secure, be sure to call a professional as it may be time to repair or replace it. If it’s not completely turned off or on it may create a constant leak.
    • Turning off the water at the meter is illegal, dangerous, and doesn’t drain the water from your home.
  2. Mark your stop and waste drain valve with a tall stake so that you can find it in the snow.


  1. Shut off and drain all outdoor irrigation no later than November 1st  
    • Local regulations require outdoor irrigation winterization November 1 through April 1.
  2. Detach and drain your garden hose
    • This prevents freezing water from backing up into the wall behind the spigot.
    • Frozen water inside a hose can also damage the hose material.


  1. Insulate exposed water pipes including those under sinks, in attics, crawl spaces, garages, basements or outside your house.
  2. If you can, leave your heat set for 50-55 degrees; this does not replace winterizing your home.
  3. Consider opening cabinet doors under sinks to let warmer indoor air circulate near the pipes.

Last but not least, “Don’t Let Frosty Down.” Inside the DWP meter box is a white foam pad known as a frost mat, or “Frosty,” that protects your meter from freezing. Like foam on coffee, it should always stay on top. If you’ve had work done and your frosty isn’t on top and level, give him a good tug up. Check out our video on how to fix him, or call us at (909)866-5050 if you need assistance.

Want more information on protecting your home this winter season? Follow us on Facebook or YouTube or find us on Twitter (@bigbearwater).


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