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Winter is coming: Watch this cold-weather tips vid and avoid frozen pipes

The arrival of chilly nights means it's time to make sure your pipes are protected from cold winter temps that can cause frozen or burst pipes in your home or on your property.

While most plumbing is deep enough underground or insulated well enough within your home to avoid freezing, water meters and water service lines can freeze when the temperature drops below 32 degrees in some cases. This can cause water to stop flowing or pipes to burst. Take steps before winter to protect your pipes: check out our Cold Weather Tips quick-facts here, and get more info in this video:

Keeping out the Cold from Philadelphia Water Department on Vimeo.


If your pipes freeze
If you don’t have water during extreme cold, check your pipes before calling our hotline. Many customers mistakenly assume a water main is broken when their home’s pipes freeze and spend valuable time on the phone.

Unfortunately, we cannot thaw your frozen pipes. You may have to wait for the line to thaw or call a plumber. However, if you take the proper precautions and winterize your house, you will likely be able to keep your pipes inside from freezing. Our Cold Weather Tips quick-facts also provide info for dealing with frozen plumbing.

If you're sure your pipes aren't frozen and there's no water on your block/in your home, call our hotline at (215) 685-6300.

FALL TIP: Don't let the cold sneak up on you!

The first night of very cold temperatures can catch people off guard, and that can leave garden hoses or outside faucets that have been left on vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Often more than a headache and trip to the hardware store for new hose, these mishaps can cause real damage if the water continues to flow after the hose, hose bib or faucet breaks under pressure.

Avoid the risk: Just find the valve or handle that connects your inside plumbing to the outside faucet. It should be close to the spot on your wall where the outside water is accessible.

Freezing temps are here. It's time to shut off the water to your outside faucet and hose, which will burst in extreme cold.     

Tips to Keep Old Man Winter’s Icy Grip from Freezing Your Home’s Plumbing

Watch and share our video on preventing frozen pipes!

With the National Weather Service calling for a blast of Arctic air that will drop Philadelphia temperatures into the teens by Thursday night, the City of Philadelphia is putting out a Code Blue alert.

In addition to keeping an eye out for those left vulnerable by the extreme cold, Philly residents should take steps to protect their home plumbing from below-freezing temperatures.

Get the Facts on Lead and Water: Invite Philadelphia Water to Your Next Community Meeting

Philadelphia's water is lead free, but we cannot control the plumbing in every home. That's why we need customers to get the facts about lead plumbing. Credit: Philadelphia Water.
Philadelphia's water is lead free, but we cannot control the plumbing in every home. We want customers to have the facts on lead plumbing so that they are empowered to remove lead pipes and can take daily steps to reduce exposure risks. Credit: Philadelphia Water

The danger of lead in drinking water continues to be a hot topic in the news, and we know many people have seen or heard recent features addressing the issue. Because we know that even small amounts of lead may be harmful to infants, young children and pregnant women, we understand why people are concerned.

Although the drinking water provided by Philadelphia Water is lead free—our treatment facilities and water mains do not contain lead materials—homes built prior to 1950 may have water distribution pipes/service lines (the small pipe that connects a home’s internal plumbing to the water main) made of lead. Copper pipes inside homes may also be joined by lead-containing solders, and some homes may have brass pipes, faucets, fittings and valves that contain lead.

Have Frozen Pipes? You Might Have to Call a Plumber

When bitter cold sets in like this, it's not uncommon for pipes to freeze.

We've been pushing out tips for prevention, but sometimes freezing occurs because home plumbing is above the frost line or pipes are near drafty basement windows. We're getting calls from some customers without water — but there's no water main break or other apparent issue in their area.

If this is happening to you, check with your neighbor and see if they have water. If the problem is isolated to your house, there's a good chance frozen pipes are to blame. If this happens:

Be Ready: Frozen Pipes Are No Winter Wonderland

Check out the tips below and reduce your chances of having cold weather damamage to your home plumbing system.
Click the image above to check out some helpful tips that can reduce your chances of having cold weather damage your home plumbing system.

Extreme cold can cause pipes and the ground to expand and contract, and very cold river water can also make water mains more brittle. In part, those factors can help to explain why more than half of Philadelphia’s water main breaks occur during the coldest months in a typical year.

But our more than 3,000 miles of water mains aren’t alone when it comes to feeling the impacts of Old Man Winter.

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