City of Kimberley no longer using electricity to thaw frozen water lines

Keep a tap running if you are worried about water lines freezing. Bulletin file.

With temperatures dropping, the potential for frozen water lines increases.

The City of Kimberley has advised via press release that while City Operations staff may be able to advise on ways to mitigate freezing or to thaw frozen lines, they will no longer be performing electrical thaws for residents.

The reason is liability.

“Based on recommendations by City’s liability insurance provider, Municipal Insurance Association (MIA), Council directed Operations staff to no longer perform electrical thawing on frozen water lines and to develop a policy to reflect this change,” the press release reads.

“In the 2019 Risk Control Report, the MIA stated that using electricity to thaw frozen water lines can cause the loss of small electrical appliances and at worst, total devastation with the entire loss of homes. The report stated that stray currents will find the path of least resistance and that path can easily lead to fire and total property loss. Electrical thaws can also severely damage City infrastructure and residential water lines, leading to costly repairs.”

City Manager of Operations Chris Mummery said that at this time, the City does not have anything in place that would restrict a property owner from hiring a contractor to perform this work, but he would advise that you make sure the contractor has appropriate insurance coverage.

There are also other options available for those with frozen water lines, Mummery said.

“The City will still conduct thawing using hot water and steam if it is found to be a viable option for the location; or the homeowner can also consider connecting to a neighbor with an overland supply.

READ: City of Kimberley advises taking precaution against freezing pipes as weather warms

READ: Prevent your home’s water lines from freezing

Your best option is to avoid frozen water lines by having a tap running constantly during during cold snaps when there is potential for water line freezing.

To significantly reduce the possibility of a frozen water line, homeowners can leave a tap running cold water day and night (stream should be the size of a pencil or larger) or install a bleeder valve. Residents should also keep spaces where pipes may be exposed to drafts from outside air or colder temperatures warm using space heaters or heating tapes. Following these tips can help ensure your pipes are not affected by freezing during periods of extreme low temperatures.

For more ways to prevent frozen water lines, check out this link:

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