Frozen Water Services

City of Hutchinson
Public Works
Hutchinson Water Department

In the City of Hutchinson, customers are responsible for water service lines from the main into the building/structure. The City is responsible for water main lines.

During prolonged cold weather, it is possible for water lines to freeze. Because water expands as it freezes, frozen water lines typically result in damaged, leaking pipes.

The City does not thaw out frozen service lines. Having a contractor thaw out water service lines can be expensive. Costs for thawing a frozen service line will vary by contractor. A list of contractors that provide thawing services in Hutchinson and in the surrounding area is included below. (This information is provided as a service to customers. The City makes no recommendations regarding these contractors.)

There are two main ways to thaw frozen services:

• Applying electricity. This is an option only if the water service is constructed of conductive materials. This option comes with the risk of fire and/or electrocution.

• Hot water/steam pulse jetting. This can be done on either conductive or non-conductive services.

To prevent freezing, property owners that have previously experienced or are likely to experience frozen water service may choose to run some water to prevent freezing, particularly if they have any of the following risk factors:

• Water service has previously frozen.
• Depth of the water service is less than 7 feet.
• Low water consumption and/or long periods without water consumption.
• Snow removal routinely done immediately above the water service (e.g., commercial properties and apartments where a good share of the lot is cleared of snow).
• Running water temperature is 38 degrees F or lower at the lowest level in the building.
• Uninsulated pipes or pipes without heat tape are located in garages or against exterior walls.
• Interior spaces of the building are kept at less than 55 degrees F.

During long periods of cold weather, the City recommends monitoring water temperature at the lowest point in the building/structure. Once the water temperature drops below 38 degrees F, the City recommends running your water at a pencil-sized stream (1/4 gallon per minute).

Water should be left running until water temperatures are regularly above 38 degrees F (at least 48 hours).  Temperature monitoring should continue until weather conditions improve significantly. Any time water services are left running, monitoring sewer service needs to be done regularly. Sewer services can freeze while water is running. It will likely take many days, possibly weeks, until the risk of freezing passes and/or before the running water temperature is consistently above 38 degrees F.

Unless otherwise directed by the City Council, any water used to keep water services from freezing will be billed. Assuming a pencil-sized stream, water consumption will range from about 575-700 gallons/day of usage x 30 days = approximately 19,000 gallons per month. The current cost of water is $4.34 per 1,000 gallons. $4.34 x 19 = approximately $82.50 per month.

Contractors offering thawing services:


Juul Contracting

TEK Services

Olivia Machine Shop

AEM Mechanical

Litzau Excavating

Plumbing & Heating by Craig

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