Winter Preparation for Water Pipes
Frozen and bursting pipes can be avoided with just a few preventative measures. Prepare water pipes in advance of freezing temperatures.
- Eliminate drafts. Close and insulate vents. Caulk and seal any openings near your water pipes.
- Insulate pipes.
- Protect outside pipes and faucets by properly draining them.
- Cover or insulate exterior faucets.
- Winterize sprinkler systems, pools and spas according to manufacturer's recommendations.
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Locate Your Main Shut-off Valve
Know where the main shut-off valve for your plumbing 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.
Who to Call
In the event of a severe winter storm, please reserve 911 for life threatening emergencies.
- The customer’s responsibility for maintaining plumbing begins immediately after the meter and continues through the entire home. If a pipe bursts in the home, call a plumber.
- If you need help locating your water shut-off valve or turning off your water at the meter, call your water provider:
- City of Fairview Public Works: 503-665-9320
- City of Gresham Water Division: 503-618-2626 (days); 503-618-3906 (evening, weekend and holiday)
- Rockwood Water People’s Utility District: 503-665-4179
- City of Troutdale Water Division: 503-665-5175
During the Worst Freezing Weather
- Let a thin stream of water run from the faucets located farthest from the street.
- Keep heat at 55° F or higher.
- Open cabinet doors under the sinks.
- When plumbing pipes are frozen, there may be water available at one faucet but not another.
What to Do if a Water Pipe Freezes
- Do not try to thaw pipes with an open flame of any kind.
- Shut off the water at the main shut-off valve.
- Open faucets.
- Gradually warm the frozen pipe by with one of the following methods: expose the area to inside heat; use a blow dryer; wrap the pipe with a heating pad; beam a heat lamp eight inches or more from the pipe; or wrap the pipe with rags and pour hot water on it.
What to Do if a Water Pipe Bursts
- Turn off the main shut-off valve.
- Open all the faucets.
- Place a bucket underneath the leak until the pipe can be repaired.
- Call a plumber.
Visit Emergency Management for more winter preparedness tips.