Tips for Avoiding Frozen Pipes

Everyone should take precautions to keep the water pipes in their homes from freezing and possibly bursting during freezing temperatures this winter.

The following tips can help.

  • Wrap all pipes outside the house.
  • Insulate pipes in the unheated parts of your home (including crawl and attic spaces).
  • Check to be sure outside faucet washers are secure.
  • Keep the lid on the meter box so the meter won't freeze.
  • Everyone in the household should know where the main water shut-off valve is in case a pipe breaks and it is necessary to turn the water off in a hurry.
  • If you leave your house vacant for a long period of time, turn off the water supply at the gate valve on the resident's side of the meter box. Have a plumber do the necessary work to prepare pipes to prevent damage.
  • During prolonged freezes, you may want to open all cabinet doors that contain water pipes to allow heat to enter them. You can place a lamp in the cabinets so the bulb can keep the area warm.
  • Keep extra water drawn up during freezing weather in case a main break or frozen pipe cuts off your water supply.

Frozen Pipes

If you do not have water and think a pipe may be frozen, follow the steps listed below.

  • Most likely, the cause is a frozen pipe. Check the outside private plumbing where exposure is most prevalent. (Manufactured homes or pier and beam foundation homes are more susceptible, particularly if there is not adequate insulation for the pipes).
  • If a pipe is frozen, it is safest to call a plumber to handle the problem. The pipe may be cracked and will burst when thawed. If an electrical appliance is used to heat the pipe, spraying water from a burst pipe could create the risk of electrocution.
  • If you decide to thaw the pipe yourself, apply heat slowly with a light bulb, a hairdryer set on low, the exhaust from a vacuum cleaner or heat tape. Use your hands to find the coldest point on the pipe, which is usually where the ice is. Keep the heat moving in that general area, but never concentrate heat on one spot.
  • Sometimes the meter is the most exposed equipment and can freeze, particularly if the lid is not properly in place. If you strongly suspect a frozen meter, call the office at 817-760-5200, metro 817-558-9522 or the emergency line at 817-558-1051 so a representative can assist you.

If you suspect a water main is broken, immediately call so it can be repaired as soon as possible. Signs of a broken water main are water running down the pavement or in the ditch. Don't assume your neighbor called.


There are a number of easy ways to save water, and they all start with you. When you save water, you save money on your utility bills. Here are just a few ways...

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