LOUISVILLE, KY. (WHAS11) -- Louisville Water crews are torching their way through a sometimes solid situation.

It's Darren Washburn's job to maintain all of the city's fire hydrants, 24,000 in total. During the winter, anti-freeze is a must have.

"If there is any more water that gets back into the hydrant, it will keep it from freezing," Washburn explained.

Washburn inspected a hydrant outside the Galt House. He had to take it apart to melt away the ice surrounding it. Without proper maintenance, firefighters wouldn't be able to do their jobs.

"Your house catches fire and there's no water, you're going to lose that house," Washburn said.

Louisville Water is also reminding homeowners to protect your pipes. Cold water can expand inside the pipe increasing in pressure and causing it to rupture.

Water crews are also keeping busy inspecting homes for reports of no water, as well as treating water main breaks.

"When this cold weather drops, it just wreaks havoc on the pipes," said Louisville Water spokesperson MarySusan Abell.

It's a task that often goes unnoticed, but for Washburn and his crew, making sure these hydrants are functioning is a public safety necessity.

"The way I was raised, I take my job serious and do the best I can do," Washburn said.

Louisville Water offers these tips:

  • Locate the water shut-off valve. This is the valve that controls the flow of water into the house. It's usually located near the hot water heater, in the basement, or in a utility closet. Turning off the water in the event of a burst pipe can minimize the damage. Once you locate the valve, tag it with a waterproof hanger or a ribbon. Louisville Water has free tags for customers at its corporate office.
  • Open cabinets under sinks to allow heat to enter
  • Cover the vents to crawl spaces
  • Insulate the water lines in the house if they are in unheated basements or crawl spaces
  • Keep a small, continuous stream of water running from the cold-water faucet (the size of the water stream should be about the size of a pencil.)