Tis’ the season for freezing water pipes in vacant homes

Winter’s here, and freezing temperatures have increased the occurrence of broken water pipes in Castle Rock.

Most of the homes affected are foreclosed or vacant and may not have been winterized correctly, which includes the removal of excess water from the irrigation system.

The Town is encouraging realtors, mortgage companies that own the vacant properties and traveling residents to follow these guidelines to avoid broken pipes:

  • If you leave your house for an extended period of time and leave the heat on, turn the water off at the shut-off valve. If you turn the heat off, the water should be turned off at the shut-off valve and the lines drained. Normally, your hot water heater does not need to be drained if it has a gas pilot that is left on.
  • If you depend on gas or electricity for heat to prevent your lines from freezing, be aware that these utilities can be interrupted – especially during storms or emergencies – and your house may be without heat for an extended period. Therefore, it is very important to turn the water off at the shut-off valve if you leave your house for an extended period.
  • Check all water lines from the meter to the house to be sure no lines or fixtures are exposed to the cold. This includes lines in the build-up area under the house, the attic, lines in the outside walls of the house and lines in unheated areas, such as a garage. These lines should be sufficiently insulated to prevent freezing.
  • All hoses should be disconnected from outside faucets. A single hard, overnight freeze can burst either the faucet or the pipe it’s connected to.
  • Open cabinet doors on exterior walls where water pipes are located (beneath kitchen and bathroom sinks, for example) so warm air from inside the house can circulate around the pipes.

During extended cold spells, pipes can freeze despite precautions. If your home is affected, call a plumber.

If you see a water emergency on someone else’s property, call the Utilities Department, 720-733-6000, or the Billing Department, 303-660-1373.