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Winter Preparation for Water Pipes

  • A homeowner's responsibility for maintaining plumbing begins immediately after the meter and continues through the entire home. 

    To avoid frozen and burst pipes during freezing temperatures, prepare in advance:

    • Drain outside pipes and faucets.
    • Cover or insulate exterior faucets and vents.
    • Caulk and seal openings to eliminate drafts.
    • Insulate pipes in unheated areas.
    • Winterize irrigation systems and backflow devices.

    How to prepare pipes for winter

    Locate your main shut-off valve

    Know where your main shut-off valve is located and how to turn it off. It may be near the water heater, near an outside hose bib, inside the garage, in the basement or crawl space, or near the water meter. 

    If you need help locating your water shut-off valve or turning off your water at the meter, call 503-618-2626 (days); 503-661-3906 (evening, weekend and holiday).

    During freezing weather

    • Keep a steady stream of water running from faucets located farthest from the street.
    • Keep heat at 55° F or higher.
    • Open cabinet doors under the sinks.

    If a water pipe freezes

    • Do not try to thaw pipes with an open flame.
    • Shut off the water at the main shut-off valve.
    • Turn on a couple faucets (kitchen/bathroom).
    • Thaw lines safely with a hair dryer, heat lamp or heating pad.

    If a water pipe bursts

    • Turn off the main shut-off valve.
    • Call a plumber.

    Visit Emergency Management for more winter preparedness tips.