Preventing Frozen Water Pipes | City of Somerville

Insulate pipes and taps in unheated areas

Wrap pipes with pipe insulation materials available at home centers, hardware and plumbing stores, or use insulation. Be sure to protect all pipes in unheated areas such as crawl spaces and garages.

Regularly check the insulation around the pipes

Today’s energy-efficient stoves reduce waste heat extremely well, which lowers heating costs and protects the environment. However, this also means that they don’t heat the air around them. It is therefore important to check that the basement pipes are properly insulated.

Repair any cracks and holes in doors, windows, and walls near pipes

When temperatures drop to near zero, a strong wind blowing through a small opening can freeze a nearby pipe. Note: When repairing these openings, do not block the vents that your stove needs to operate properly.

Seal leaks

Find and seal cold air leaks on electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes. Use caulking to keep the cold air out and the heat in. In extreme cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to freeze a pipe.

Make sure heat can circulate around pipes

Pipes built inside an outside wall can freeze, especially if the wind chill factor is well below zero and no heat is circulating through these areas.

Never turn off your heat

If you’re planning on leaving your home or business for an extended period of time and not draining your pipes, lower the thermostat never turn that off. The lack of heat can freeze the pipes in walls and in the basement. If freezing occurs, the pipes will burst. If the area warms up, the thawing water will cause flooding and possible property damage.

Switch off the external taps

Disconnect the hose; Turn off the water in your home or business and drain the pipe. Leave the outer valve slightly open to allow the water remaining in the pipe to drain and not freeze in the pipe.

Open the faucet a small amount on extremely cold nights

If your pipes freeze despite these precautions, it is best to contact a licensed plumber. Make sure you have your plumber’s name and number handy all winter long.

Call a plumber to see if the frozen pipe is in your home or building. If the problem is outside of your home or business, Somerville’s water department may be able to help.

Somerville Water and Sewage Department
[email protected]
24 hour customer service
(617-666-3311 outside Somerville)
[email protected]

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