Preventing & Responding to Frozen Pipes

When cold weather arrives, it is important to take steps to prevent frozen pipes, including:
  • Insulate pipes that are exposed to cold air
  • Open cabinet doors below sinks to let warm air circulate around pipes
  • Leave a thin stream of water running when the temperature is below freezing
  • Make sure the lid on your water meter pit is tightly secured
  • Locate your water shut-off valve so you know how to turn water off quickly in case a pipe bursts
  • If your water meter is in the basement, ensure the area is heated, and check for broken windows
  • If you have any water fixtures or piping in the garage, keep the garage doors closed.

Signs of frozen pipes:

  • Your faucets won’t flow and your toilets won’t refill after a flush
  • A water line is coated in frost or is bulging

Troubleshooting no water:

  • If you have a water softener, place it on bypass and see if the water service is restored.
  • Check the meter pit
  • Check exposed pipes or valves in the garage or basement

What to do if you identify a frozen pipe or a pipe bursts:

  • Shut off the water at the main shut off valve is located at the meter. If the frozen pipe is slowing the flow of water, when the ice dam is removed, water will quickly flow out of the pipe. Main shut off valves are located in varying places including:
    • Garage
    • Basement
    • Utility Closet
    • Main entry for water line into the house
  • Open the faucet of the frozen pipe to allow water to flow through and relieve the build-up of any pressure. Running water through the pipe will also help to melt any ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of frozen pipe. This can be done by wrapping a heating pad around the pipe, heating it with a blow dryer, wrapping the pipes in towels soaked in warm water or using a space heater to heat up the area where the pipes are located. Keep applying heat until the water pressure is restored and the water flows through freely. Never use an open flame like a propane torch.
  • If a pipe is bulging or you can’t find the location of the blockage, call a licensed plumber.