Frozen water service lines

We explain how to prevent and respond to a frozen water line.

You are responsible

Your property has a water service line that

  • Runs underground
  • Connects the City water main to your water meter

If you own the property

  • You own the water service line, from its connection to the water main to its connection to your meter
  • You are responsible for making sure the line and the curb stop/shut-off valve are working.
  • You are responsible for hiring and paying someone to repair your water line if it leaks or freezes. 
Most service lines are buried deep enough to not freeze in the winter. If your water service lines have not frozen in the past, they are unlikely to freeze now.
Illustration of water service lines from water main to water meter.

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

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.

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Contact us

Public Works Water Treatment & Distribution Services


For water emergencies


For water quality information



4300 Marshall St. NE
Fridley, MN 55421

This building is closed to the public.