Nov 22 2013

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Frozen Pipe

As the cold season settles in and temperatures begin to drop, frozen pipes could become a concern.  We want to provide you with some tips to help you avoid frozen pipes and the issues that can accompany them.

  • Prevention:
    • Insulate pipes: Exposed pipes are the most susceptible to freezing, but pipes in a basement or attic also run the risk due to the possibility of a lack of temperature control in these areas.  Insulating these can reduce the chances of having your pipes freeze.
    • Heat Tape: Electrical heat tape can be used to keep the pipes warmed, but be sure to use tested and approved products, and follow the installation and operation instructions closely.
    • Garden Hoses: Disconnect garden hoses and use a valve to shut off and drain the water leading to the faucets, if available.
    • Water Drip: Allowing water to drip overnight from a faucet on an outside wall may be enough to prevent freezing
    • Open Cabinets: Open cabinet doors so the heat from the house can get to the pipes under sinks and appliances
    • Thermostat: It’s recommended to set the thermostat no lower than 55°F (12°C) even if you are leaving for an extended period of time.
    • If vacationing during the winter, having the water temporarily shut off and pipes drained could be an option.  Ensure other items (hot water heater, sprinkler system, etc.) are factored into this plan.
    • If Freezing occurs:
      • If you turn on your faucets and find no water, leave it in the on position and call a plumber.
      • It may be possible to thaw the pipe using a hair dryer on a low heat setting.  Work from the faucet back towards the main.  Ensure faucets are on so that water may flow through the pipes.  Do not use a torch or open flame, as that could present a fire hazard and make matters worse.
      • If your pipes have burst due to the freezing, turn off that water at the main shut-off valve if possible and call your local water provider.
      • In the event you used electrical heat tape and the pipes still froze, the heat tape may be used to thaw the pipes, but be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions.  Ensure water faucets are on so that water can flow.

These tips are not fail-proof but have proven helpful in preventing frozen pipes.  In the event of frozen pipes, calling a local plumber and your local water company are always your best choices.


Lakewood Water District
11900 Gravelly Lake Drive SW
Lakewood, WA 98499

Office Hours

Monday thru Friday
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Voice: 253-588-4423

24-Hour Emergency Line: 253-588-4423