Disconnect the hose, and wrap up the pipes; Freezing temperatures ahead

Press Release Date:
Tuesday, November 19, 2013

With temperatures forecast to dip below freezing tonight and into the coming  week, Vancouver Public Works reminds water customers that prevention is the best cure for avoiding freezing or bursting pipes. Here are some tips to help guard against winter plumbing problems:

Before freezing temperatures arrive:

  • Disconnect all garden hoses and shut off and drain water from any pipes leading to outside faucets. Drain in-ground irrigation systems according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Protect outside faucets and hose bibs with insulation. Use foam-insulating covers designed specifically for that task or, in a pinch, wrap hose bibs tightly with cloth or newspapers, then cover with a plastic bag.
  • Insulate pipes near outer walls in crawl spaces, basements, garages and/or attics.
  • Locate your home's water shut-off valve and make sure it works, before it's needed in an emergency.

When temperatures plummet below freezing:

  • Allow a tiny trickle of water to drip at night from an indoor faucet, preferably a faucet located along an exterior wall and/or farthest from where your water service connects with the main water line.
  • Open cupboard doors under sinks in kitchens and bathrooms to allow more heat to reach water pipes.
  • Vacationing? Have someone check your house periodically to make sure everything is functioning properly. For long periods, you may wish to drain and shut off the water system, with the exception of indoor sprinkler systems.

If water pipes freeze:

  • Remember that owners are responsible for protecting and repairing pipes and plumbing on their private property. That includes water pipes that freeze or burst.
  • If you turn on your faucets and no water comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
  • NEVER ever try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame.
  • If your water isn’t flowing and you suspect the problem is at the meter, please call Vancouver Public Works’ Operations Center at 360-487-8177 for assistance. 

More winter weather tips can be found in the City's special Fall/Winter Public Safety insert and on the Public Works Severe Weather page.