Prevent Frozen Water Pipes

Are you leaving town for an extended time during the winter? Pay attention to the weather forecast if below-freezing nighttime temperatures are predicted. The Public Works department offers the following precautions to help prevent frozen water pipes in your home.


  • It is good practice to disconnect outdoor hoses before freezing weather arrives. This allows water to drain from the pipe rather than freeze in the hose and possibly up through the plumbing.
  • Insulate your water pipes by wrapping them with insulating tape or tubular insulation; especially if you have pipelines in an unheated garage, cold crawlspace, or unheated basement.
  • Seal cracks around drafty windows and doors and repair broken basement windows.
  • Avoid plugging air vents that your furnace or water heater need for good combustion.
  • Leave cabinet doors open under sinks to allow warm air to circulate around the water pipes.
  • If you have experienced frozen pipes in your current home and are concerned about weather-related pipe breaks, allow a very thin water stream to flow from a kitchen or bathroom faucet during the coldest temperatures.
  • If you plan to leave your home for more than a few days, program your home's thermostat so that the house is warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing. As an additional security measure, ask a trusted friend to check your home while you are away.
  • Locate the master shutoff for your water service before you have a plumbing emergency. If you know where and how to shut off water flow, you will reduce the amount of water damage caused by broken pipes.
  • If you discover that your home's water pipes have frozen, call your plumber.