WEST SEATTLE WEATHER: Snow or no, sub-freezing temperatures are on the way. Here’s advice on home readiness

(Photo by James Bratsanos)

Lowland snow? Maybe. Sub-freezing cold? Definitely. That’s the current forecast for what’s on the way. Starting tomorrow night, temperatures will drop below freezing, with daytime highs in the 20s on Friday and Saturday, overnight lows as cold as the upper teens on Friday and Saturday nights. So Seattle Public Utilities – which handles water service among other things – wants you to be ready. Today SPU invited media crews to a home in Seaview for demonstrations on simple steps you can take – like protecting outdoor faucets:

(WSB photos/video from here)

In our photo is SPU’s Sabrina Clark-Bentley, who showed options for that – either a foam cover you can buy, or a DIY wrap with an old sock or towel, plastic bags, and tape:

Inside, SPU recommends turning on a faucet to a “slow drip” when it’s below freezing, so water keeps flowing in your pipes to reduce the chance of a break. In your kitchen, if your sink is against an exterior wall, open the doors beneath it to bring in warmer air:

And know where your water shutoff is, in case you need it. Other things to consider before the cold wave hits – storm-drain clearing. That’s part of what we discussed in a brief interview with SPU’s emergency-management program manager Chad Buechler:

Again, the number he mentioned for SPU-related emergencies, like water breaks and clogged street drains, is 206-386-1800 (same one we often mention for brown water).

10 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE WEATHER: Snow or no, sub-freezing temperatures are on the way. Here's advice on home readiness"

  • EG28 January 10, 2024 (6:29 pm)

    Thank you, WSB! Appreciate the advice!

  • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy January 10, 2024 (10:31 pm)

    As I’m sure I’m not the only one with this question – why are you supposed to cover your outdoor faucets? 

    • WSB January 10, 2024 (10:39 pm)

      According to the SPU rep pictured, because it too connects to pipes containing water that could be the first to freeze, expand, and cause a rupture.

    • Christopher B January 11, 2024 (7:58 am)

      As a New England native who has experienced more than my fair share of bitterly cold winters, I have to say that I’m always befuddled when I see those styrofoam outdoor spigot covers. We never used those back East, even when I lived in northern New Hampshire where subzero temps were common in the winter. I just cannot see how they’re valued added.

      • WS Native January 11, 2024 (10:33 am)

        Just a guess, but I think regions more accustomed to long and cold Winters utilize anti-freeze spigots and other plumbing system practices to prevent catastrophic freezing.  A lot of the older plumbing systems installed up here in the PNW didn’t account for weather like this, so they’re more prone to freezing and/or rupturing.

        • Christopher B January 11, 2024 (11:27 am)

          @wsnative That may or may not be.  Though I’ve also lived in the PNW for going on 20 years and have never used one of these spigot covers on any house I’ve owned and have also never had an issue. With no source of heat/warmth and a loose, unsealed fit over the spigot, the laws of thermodynamics are simply against the possibility of a couple of inches of expanded polystyrene foam are going to make a cold metal spigot any warmer.  So I think that people are wasting their money on these valueless spigot covers that are made of a non-biodegradable material that tends to chip and break down to smaller pieces that some birds and other wildlife often mistake for food. 

          • Guy Olson January 11, 2024 (4:02 pm)

            I actually had a hose bib split open inside the drywall last winter. The key is to not leave a hose connected to it. I learned the hard way. 

  • Chris January 11, 2024 (1:07 pm)

    We would rather cover them than wish we had because pipes froze.   My family has been here since 1962 in an older house & we always done.   We just don’t want to chance it.

  • Alison January 11, 2024 (5:55 pm)

    The small drip in an inside faucet is a good idea, also, but it should be in the room of your house the farthest away from the city water main (so the extent of the piping is covered).  The idea is that running water is much harder to freeze than stationary.  Just a small drip will do.

  • Kendrick January 12, 2024 (6:13 pm)

    Is it a slow drip for all faucets?  Or just the kitchen?  I have 2 other bathrooms.  

Sorry, comment time is over.