Avoid Freezing Pipes


Following These Steps......
Taking the steps below before freezing temperatures arrive can help you avoid frozen pipes.

Seal cracks.
Caulk around doorframes and windows and around pipes where they enter the house to reduce incoming cold.

Wrap all pipes in unheated areas.
Pipes in unheated areas such as the crawl space under the house, attic, garage and unheated basement should be wrapped to prevent freezing. Use insulating tape and wrap it over the entire length of exposed pipe. You can also use flexible molded pipe sleeves. Cover all valves, pipe fittings, etc. with insulating tape or fiberglass. We do not recommend electric heat tape for insulating water lines.

Protect outdoor pipes and faucets.
In some homes, the outside faucet has its own shut-off in the basement in addition to the shut-off valve for the entire house. If you have a separate valve for outside faucets, close the valve, remove hoses, and drain the faucet. If you do not have a separate valve, wrap the outside faucets (hose bibs) in newspapers or rags covered with plastic.

Open cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathrooms.
Water lines supplying these rooms are frequently on outside walls. Any air leaks in siding or insulation can cause these pipes to freeze. Leaving the doors open when the temperature is below freezing allows them to get more heat.

Let faucets farthest from the street or at the end of the system drip in below-freezing weather. This will add to your bill, but the amount will be nothing compared to the inconvenience and cost if the meter or pipes freeze.

Turn off all your water and drain your system if you are leaving for a long time.
Turn off the main shut-off valve, then turn on all faucets, sinks tubs, showers, etc. and flush the toilets. Turn off the water heater. Then go back to the main shut-off valve and remove the plug so it can drain completely. Leaving your furnace on a low setting while you are gone helps, but it may not prevent freezing.




What if my sewer backs up?
Sewer backups are usually unexpected and always create a mess. At best the backup requires unpleasant cleanup and sometimes expensive damage. When this happens, our customers have questions.

Who is going to fix the problem?

That depends on whether the stoppage is in your private line or the City main. If it is in the City main, we fix it as quickly as possible and keep you informed about what’s being done.

If the problem is with the private line connecting your house to the City main, we’ll tell you so you can get it fixed. It is against the law for the City to work on private property.

Homeowners responsibility for a sewer line extends past the property line and all the way to where the sewer ties into the City main.


Install a backflow valve to prevent backups

City ordinance requires a backflow valve on all new and newly-repaired sewer lines. But you can have a plumber add a backflow valve to your line right now. It's the best protection against sewer backups.

The valve closes when water comes into it from the wrong direction.
If a clog occurs, the backflow valve will stop the sewage from backing up into your house.

If you are downhill from the sewer main, be sure a backflow valve has been put on your sewer line – especially if your house is in an older area of the city.

Even if your house is in a borderline location, installing a backflow valve may be a good precaution. Once the valve is installed, clean it periodically to keep it working right. Talk to your plumber about the installation and cleaning or call Customer Service.

Make sure you have proper insurance

Sewer backups are not automatically covered by all homeowner’s insurance policies. Check your policy to make sure you are covered for damages due to sewer backups.

Remember, the City is not an insurer. The City can only pay for damages under extremely limited circumstances set out by law.

Don’t assume you’re covered! You may need a special option for coverage. Talk to your insurance agent.

Avoid future backups

Call us at the first sign of a problem – before the sewer backs up. If your drains are running slow, for example, call us. We'll come and check the lines.

Dispose of grease and fats with your trash, not down the drain. Even if you run it through a garbage disposal, grease in drains can collect and harden into a plug.

Plant trees and large shrubs away from sewer lines. Roots grow toward breaks or cracks in lines. When roots get inside the pipe, they clog it.

Never connect sump pumps. French drains or other flood control systems to your sanitary sewer. It's illegal and the debris and silt will clog your line. Call a plumber to undo illegal connections.

Click here to read Preventing Sewer Backups.


Q.  Does the IPWA provide each customer a poly cart?
A.  The IPWA will provide you a 65 gallon poly cart within 48 hours of service activation.

Q.  Does the IPWA provide a second poly cart?
A.  Yes the first poly cart is $12.50 per month and the second poly cart is and additional $20.00 per month.

Q.  Can I put brush and leaves in my poly cart?
A.  No. contact the Street Department to schedule a time for those items to be picked up. (580) 286-3438

Q.  Do you rent small dumpsters to homeowners?
A.  No, we offer roll off boxes for a fee please contact the Water Department to schedule a box.  (580) 286-5631

Q.  Does the City of Idabel have a recycling program?
A.  Yes, we have a recycling convenience center at the Tractor Supply on East Washington or contact the Sanitation Department. (580)286-6488

Q.  What should I do if my poly cart is damaged/lost/stolen
A.  To report a damaged, lost or stolen poly cart call the IPWA at (580) 286-5631

To avoid damage to our trucks or your property, please follow these guidlines:
  • Bag household garbage
  • Do not allow anything to protrude from the top of the poly cart
  • Cut long objects to fit inside of the poly cart
  • Do not place objects on the lid of the poly cart