It may look nice outside but 33% of the residents in Houghton are still running their water to prevent frozen pipes.

Many residents have made that mistake and have needed their pipes to be re-thawed again.

Jon Carlson of Carlson Contracting in Dollar Bay explained what happens several feet underground with water pipes.

“It’s completely encapsulated in frost so by shutting the water off, you’ve just made that little pipe vulnerable and it’ll freeze in as fast as five minutes once you shut the water off,” he said.

With all the let-runs this winter, the city had to make adjustments to its policy.  For the next two months, residents who are running their water will be charged the average of their last three water bills.

Houghton City Manager Eric Waara said the policy is standard in many local communities.

“That way we can really look at the current city policy and how its set up, over the summer months, in order to come up with something that’ll be useful and fair to both the city and the residents for next winter,” he said.

So what you should you do if you think it’s time to shut off your water?

“I think you’d look into calling the city and ask them what they feel like the frost depth is or what kind of feeling they have on it.  Then when they give you the go-ahead to shut your water off, then go ahead and do that.  If  your dealing with the township, talk to them and they should know,” Carlson said.

City officials are reminding residents no matter how nice it looks outside, continue running your water until further notice.