Preventing Frozen Water Pipes

Every winter, property owners face the expense and upset of frozen water pipes and meters. Frozen pipes aren’t just an inconvenience:  substantial damage and disruption can result when pipes freeze. Read on for important tips to avoid frozen water pipes in your home.

Be Prepared For Frozen Pipes:

  • Find the master shutoff valve. It may be near the water heater, washing machine, or where the water service pipe enters the house from the street. If a pipe bursts anywhere in the house, this valve will turn the water flow off. Make sure everyone in the residence knows where this valve is.
  • Have a plumber’s number handy, in case of an unexpected emergency.


  • Maintain heat at 55 degrees minimum (including in basement).
  • Avoid drafts where water meter and exposed pipe are located.
  • Insulate pipes that are located in cold and drafty places in the home.


  • Disconnect hoses.
  • Shut off faucets from inside basement and drain the faucets.

In Extreme Cold:

  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to reach water pipes.
  • During extreme cold snaps, some customers run cold water faucets constantly (the size of a pencil lead). This may help if your service has a history of freezing.

If You Have a Frozen Pipe:

  • NEVER use a torch or flame to try to thaw a frozen pipe.
  • If attempting to thaw the pipe yourself, the best tool is a hair dryer on a low setting – wave back and forth over pipe.
  • When thawing pipes, be mindful that they may already be broken and may start to leak once they begin to thaw. Be ready to run to the shutoff valve.
  • SWSC customers can contact Field Customer Service at 310-3501 anytime, 24/7.

It is the customer’s responsibility to ensure that the area around the water meter is kept open, warm, and dry. The cost to replace a meter or repair pipes that are damaged from freezing or bursting is the customer’s responsibility. Take steps to protect your home this winter season!

More information can be found here:

“Helpful Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes” Video

“Preventing Frozen Water Pipes” Brochure – single page, English only

“Tips for Avoiding Frozen Water Pipes this Winter” Tri-fold Flyer – two pages, English and Spanish