Greater Cincinnati Water Works

Greater Cincinnati Water Works

Frozen Pipes

How To Stop Pipes From Freezing

Taking these steps before freezing temperatures arrive can help you avoid frozen pipes -- and the inside frozen meter charge.*

  1. Seal cracks: Caulk around door frames and windows and around pipes where they enter the house to reduce incoming cold.
  2. Wrap all pipes in unheated areas: Pipes in unheated areas such as the crawl space under the house, attic, garage and unheated basement should be wrapped to prevent freezing. Use insulating tape and wrap it over the entire length of exposed pipe. You can also use flexible molded pipe sleeves. Cover all valves, pipe fittings, etc. with insulating tape or fiberglass. We do not recommend electric heat tape for insulating water lines.
  3. Protect outdoor pipes and faucets: In some homes, the outside faucet has its own shut-off in the basement in addition to the shut-off valve for the entire house. If you have a separate valve for outside faucets, close the valve, remove hoses and drain the faucet. If you don't have a separate valve, wrap the outside faucets (hose bibs) in newspapers or rags covered with plastic.
  4. Drain in-ground sprinklers: Check the manufacturer's instructions for the best way to do this.
  5. Open cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathrooms: Water lines supplying these rooms are frequently on outside walls. Any air leaks in siding or insulation can cause these pipes to freeze. Leaving the doors open when the temperature is below freezing allows them to get more heat.
  6. Let faucets farthest from the street or at the end of the system drip in below-freezing weather: This will add to your bill, but the amount will be nothing compared to the inconvenience and cost if the meter or pipes freeze.
  7. Turn off all your water and drain your system if you are leaving for a long time: Turn off the main shut-off valve, then turn on all faucets, sinks, tubs, showers, etc. and flush the toilets. Turn off the water heater. Then go back to the main shut-off valve and remove the plug so it can drain completely. Leaving your furnace on a low setting while you are gone helps, but it may not prevent freezing.

*We do all we can to provide service regarding frozen pipes and meters. But when an inside meter freezes, there is a charge to the property owner, because owners are responsible for preventing frozen inside meters.

What To Do If Pipes Freeze Or Split

Thaw frozen lines safely: Use hair dryers, heat lamps or electric lamps. Do not use an open flame, an electric welder or electric heat tape. These can all cause fires.

If the pipes split, turn off the water and your water heater immediately. Use leak clamps as a temporary solution.

If you need help, call us at 513-591-7700.