City of OKC asks residents to conserve water, plumbers worry about frozen pipes as result

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The City of Oklahoma City says there’s a rise in demand for water and is asking residents to reduce their water usage right now. But with the cold temperatures, plumbers have been urging those to make sure water is running throughout the home to avoid a pipe burst.

Plumbers say it’s important to not just drip, but stream your faucet, using hot and cold water to avoid any accidents from happening.

“It’s important because they will freeze… The key thing is movement,” said Jesse Hull with Hull Plumbing.

Hull says flowing water is essential to prevent frozen pipes.

However, the City of Oklahoma City has its own dilemma. With so many flowing taps, they’re dealing with higher-than-expected demand for water at the same time as they’re working on treatment facilities. They’re asking everyone to limit their water use so the city’s system can catch up.

“Our message is not don’t drip. We are not saying to not drip… These are typically our off-peak times. We see the lowest demand during the winter, which we want to be prepared for the summer. So, we have projects going and so right now we do have less capacity than we typically do… If you can help long down the road, there could potentially be pressure issues, which is why if you reduce now, we can conserve, fill our tanks up and make sure that we can continue meeting demand throughout the entire year,” said Jasmine Morris, Oklahoma City Utilities Department.

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Morris says if you do plan to run your water, they ask you to be mindful with how much you’re using.

“All you need really is a small drip or a small stream, which is about the lead of a pencil. Think about that and the width of that. You’re good,” said Morris.

Hull said some customers turn off the taps too soon. He said, even if the temperatures climb above freezing, keep that water flowing because the wind chill could still cause the outside pipes to freeze up.

“Your temperature can be above freezing and then your wind chill is going to hit it harder and it’s going to freeze. So, like I said, the wind is the most important. The winds are what’s causing the damage right now,” said Hull.

Hull Plumbing invited KFOR to a pipe burst project they were working on that flooded two neighboring businesses.

They say their calls have increased because of the weather and say it can happen to you if you are not careful.

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“We found out that this pipe had busted and was frozen. So, we were able to expose it and now have made the repair,” said Javier Palacios, Hull Plumbing.

Plumbers are urging you to keep streams flowing until we start seeing consistent and higher temperatures because a pipe burst would waste even more water.

“I can see where they’re coming from about there being a shortage or to try to keep it, you know, but that will cause more damage to your house than anything is did not flow anything through it,” said Hull.

You can conserve water by waiting to wash clothes or run the dishwasher, take short showers, avoid car washes and be mindful of toilet flushes.

Oklahoma is back in the deep freeze this weekend, so if you run into a water-related emergency, shut off your water and call your utility company for help. You can also call Oklahoma City Utilities Customer Service at (405) 297-2833 for help.

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