Frozen water service lines
We explain how to prevent and respond to a frozen water line.
When it happens
Water lines can freeze during very cold winter weather if
- The depth of the frost reaches the depth of the service line, or
- Your basement is not heated where the water service line enters the home
How you know
Your water line is probably frozen if:
- The weather is very cold
- There is no water anywhere in your house
- Your supply line and master shut off valves are open
When you believe you water line is frozen
- If your basement is not heated: Use a space heater to warm the air where the water line enters your home.
- If the meter drips as it thaws: It may be damaged from freezing. Call our water emergency line to replace it.
- If you are not able to thaw the line: Contact a qualified contractor. They should specialize in thawing frozen water service lines.
- If you contact us:
- We can send an inspector to confirm the line is frozen.
- You will need to pay a contractor to repair it.
How to avoid
Keep temperatures above freezing in basement spaces where
- The service line enters the home
- The water meter sits
- If your meter is in a separate room or cabinet, leave the door to the room open to aid air flow.
Keep a faucet in the lowest level of your home running a trickle of cold water until the ground thaws.
- You only need to run a pencil-width stream of water.
- Make sure your drain is free of debris to prevent overflowing or flooding.
- Place a visible note on the faucet reminding other people in your home to not turn the water off.
- Turning the water off, for even a few minutes, can cause a recently frozen line to freeze again.
- Do not turn the faucet off until the ground is fully thawed.
If you have a service line that often freezes
- Keep the basement temperature above freezing in the winter.
- Consider hiring a qualified contractor to lower your service line. Lower it to a depth that it can't be reached by frost.
Finding a licensed contractor
If you need a licensed plumber or other contractor, we offer resources on finding one.