Winter Weather/Frozen Pipes


Winter Weather and Frozen Pipes Checklist

To minimize the potential for frozen pipes, please take note of the suggestions below.

Before winter:

  • Disconnect and drain outdoor faucets and shut them off inside.
  • Patch cracks and holes near pipes. When temperatures approach zero, wind through a small opening can freeze nearby pipes, even if the room temperature is 70 degrees.
  • Insulate pipes in unheated areas like crawl spaces and garages. Check insulation.  Wet insulation freezes fast, making it worse than no insulation at all.
  • Make sure heat can circulate around pipes. Plumbing in an enclosed space such as a closet will freeze.
  • Pay attention to basement piping. Older furnaces lose enough heat to warm basements.  Newer, energy efficient models do not.  Consider UL approved heat tape.
  • Find and tag your inside water shut-off valve and make sure it works BEFORE an emergency arises. This will limit water damage should inside pipes burst.

If your pipes freeze:

  • Don’t use an open flame for thawing. You risk overheating a pipe and causing it to burst – or worse – you could set your house on fire.
  • Use a hair dryer on the low setting and wave it back and forth along the pipe.
  • Use caution – the pipe may already be broken and water may pour out when the pipe thaws.

If your line freezes outside:

  • Call us as soon as possible. We will remove the meter and check for ice.  Sometimes only the meter is frozen.
  • If the meter is not the problem we will attempt to determine which side of the service line is frozen. We can use our thawing equipment, or you may choose to have a plumber attempt to thaw the line.  If the line is frozen on the customer’s side, it is up to the customer to pay for the thawing.  If the line is frozen on the District’s side, we will pay for the thawing.  If the freeze location cannot be determined, we will split the cost of thawing, per Maine Public Utility Commission regulations.
  • We respond to frozen service complaints in the order they are received. Other emergencies, such as broken water mains, will take priority.