Winterization | Regional Water Providers Consortium


a winter scene of ice on a branch

Teach everyone in your household where your emergency water shut-off valve is and how to use it. In residential homes, most shut-off valves are in the crawl space, basement, garage, or outside near the foundation. If a pipe bursts inside your home, this valve will turn the water off.


Before Winter

Outside your home

Detach hoses from all outside faucets (spigots). Insulate your faucet with a  foam cap or another insulating material. Foam caps are available at most hardware or home improvement stores for about $5.

If your outdoor faucet has its own shut-off valve (usually located in the basement or crawl space), turn it to the right to shut it off. Then turn on each outdoor spigot to drain the water from the pipes. 

Turn off and drain automatic sprinkler systems and backflow assembly devices. Wrap backflow devices with insulating material. Learn more ways prepare your irrigation system for winter with these maintenance tips.


Inside your home

Insulate hot and cold pipes that are in unheated areas in your home such as the garage, crawl space, or attic. Cover foundation vents with foam blocks, thickly folded newspaper, or cardboard.


During Winter

If you haven’t already, make sure you complete the “Before Winter” steps above. Water pipes are more likely to break when we have freezing weather. You can keep the water in your pipes from freezing with these tips:

Turn on the faucet farthest from your water meter so that it has a slow and steady drip. Not sure where your water meter is located? Turn on a faucet that is farthest from the street, like in the back of your home or upstairs. This will keep water moving and make it less likely to freeze in your pipes. 

You can also open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let the warmer air from the rest of your home into that space. This will help keep the pipes in your home’s walls from freezing.


Think you have a frozen pipe? Here’s how to tell if you do:

Turn on all faucets in your home; if some of them work and others do not, it is likely that you have a frozen pipe. Frozen pipes inside your home are the homeowner or landlord's responsibility. 

If you try this and there is no water coming from any faucets, the issue may be something that your water provider will need to fix. Check your water provider’s website for information about water outages in your area. If there's no information posted, call your water provider's customer service or emergency number to report the problem.


Thawing frozen pipes:

To thaw frozen pipes safely, use a hair dryer on a low setting. Move the hair dryer back and forth over one foot-long section of pipe at a time until water flows freely from the nearest faucet. NEVER thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame. 

Once the pipe has thawed, turn on the faucet(s) in your home to a slow, steady drip to keep water moving through your pipes. This will help keep your pipes from refreezing.